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With style and a flow that pay homage to legendary New York MCs, 17 year-old Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ proved fellow New York rapper Nas’ 2008 album title Wrong… Hip-Hop is Not Dead. Joey Bada$$ recently released his new mix tape 1999 hosted by Pro Era.
This mix tape channeled the spirit of Hip Hop from early and mid 1990s, about the same time of Joey’s early childhood. Joey Bada$$’s style seems to be a mix between Long Island MC Shyiem and a young 90′s New Yorker Tupac. 1999 is likely to suffer similar criticisms such as A$AP Rocky and Big K.R.I.T. Receiving heavy criticism for building their careers on preexistent legendary formulas, as the young Brooklyn night’s thematic conceptual effort seeks to spark nostalgia by using old fashioned backpack style. While technically rapping with skill and wisdom beyond his years on instrumentals just the same, his style is repetitive and his age can be heard with in his rhymes.
“Survival Tactics” is his biggest single and online introduction, something that would have fit better as a part of the now-extinct but legendary Lyricist Lounge ciphers. Joey Bade$$ raps over already released beats, the production of the album came from MF Doom and Lord Finesse. With instrumentals coming from MF Doom’s “World Domination” and Lord Finesse on “FunkyHo’$”. Also making an appearance is Statik Selektah, whose contribution “Don’t Front” is a welcome departure from the majority of the project. The mix tape ends with a classic posse cut, “Suspect”, which features nine members of the Joey’s Pro Era crew and used the same hook of the Nas song of the same name.
Overall, 1999 stays true to the long established blueprints of previous MCs. Joey Bada$$ 1999 is the catalyzing balance within the greater culture that Hip-Hop needed. A worthwhile reminder of Hip Hop’s so-called glory days, however, Joey risks placing himself in a nostalgic box.