1990s hip-hop history is unashamedly at the fore in ‘My Jeep’, the third single from Brooklyn prodigy Joey Bada$$’ most recent mixtape, Summer Knights. Joining forces with fellow Flatbush natives Meechy Darko (Flatbush Zombies), Issa Gold (The Underachievers) and Chuck Strangers, Bada$$ rhymes with smart alec confidence over a minimal, vintage beat, in this boom-bap influenced track. To add to the nostalgia, Chuck Strangers’ hook humorously references R. Kelly’s 1995 hit, ‘You Remind Me of Something’, while Meechy Darko channels Ol’ Dirty Bastard in the gritty, final verse.
2013 has been a hell of a year for the 18 year old Bada$$. Following a series of showcases at SXSW in March, he has become a member of XXL’s 2013 Freshman Class, was nominated for ‘Best New Artist’ at the 2013 BET Awards and has toured both domestically and internationally. He is currently co-headlining ‘The Smokers Club Tour’ with Ab-Soul, which comes to Austin in a couple of weeks.
Bada$$’ old school sampling, smooth lyrical dexterity and Nas-like cadence give him an important role in a new group of rappers who are straying from the uniformity of current club bangers and radio hits to bring lyricism back to hip-hop (think Black Hippy, Pac Div, Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Mob, Pusha T, Big K.R.I.T.). And in this process, throwbacks and golden era influences are fundamentally necessary. In an Interview at Powerhouse 2013 just earlier this week, A$AP Rocky argued the case: “Are we here to make a single or are we here to make art again? 'Cause modern day artists aren’t doing that no more,” he stated. “That’s why we’ve gotta go listen to old school hip hop and that’s why we get influenced by it”.
A nod to the past does not equate with unoriginality and Joey Bada$$ can be seen as proof. By utilizing an understanding of New York’s rich hip-hop history, he has created a dynamic body of work that is both brazenly littered with references and still very much his own - carrying the golden era’s spark into a new generation.
Catch Joey Bada$$ at Emo’s on November 17th. Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers play FunFunFun Fest this Saturday.
Tha Fixx airs today (Wednesday) at 12 and 6 CST - only on SXSWfm. Tune in here on your mobile device or desktop!
Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era at SXSW 2013. Photo by Tammy Camp.