Joey Bada$$ is a 27 year old MC, singer & actor from New York City who came up as a founding member of the Pro Era & Beast Coast collectives. His debut mixtape 1999 just celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary last month & has gone on to become a classic, but Rejex was a decent collection of leftovers & Summer Knights was an solid prelude to his full-length debut. B4.DA.$$ eventually came on his 20th birthday & lived up it to it’s expectations by expanding on the vibes of 1999, but Joey’s sophomore effort ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ revealed it be unquestionably the most political he’s ever been. 5 long years later, Joey’s officially giving us a sequel in the form of his 3rd album.
“The Baddest” is a piano-tinged opener produced Erick the Architect with Joey referring to himself as the baddest motherfucker in all of NY whereas “Make Me Feel” goes into boom bap turf thanks to Statik Selektah confessing that the haters made him take a hiatus for a bit. “Where I Belong” keeps the dustiness going taking about takin’ risks every time he hits the door leading into Westside Gunn coming into the picture for “Brand New 911” to bring in a jazzy instrumental that Chuck Strangers has cooked up getting on their fly shit.
Meanwhile on “Cruise Control”, we have Joey over a cloudy trap beat from Mike WiLL Made-It & Cardiak talking about staying 10 toes down just before “Eulogy” returns to the boom bap shouting out all his homies that’re sittin’ on the big wheels. “Zipcodes” has yet another jazzier tone to the production provided by Kirk Knight talking about doing this with ease, but then “One of Us” with Larry June finds the 2 shooting for a smoother aesthetic calling out the people who wish they were them.
“Welcome Back” on the other hand is definitely the weakest cut on the album from the bland trap instrumental to the Chris Brown verse & the tepid subject matter while “Show Me” returns to a boom bap aesthetic talking about wanting to be proven that his lover cares for her. “Wanna Be Loved” with J.I.D. has a more nocturnal sound to it expressing their desire to be appreciated while the song “Head High” is a jazz-inflicted ode to those who’re no longer here. The penultimate track “Survivor’s Guilt” comes through with a heart-wrenching tribute to Capital STEEZ & “Written in the Stars” sends off the album in glory rightfully talking about being a legend.
Some people tried to write Joey off because of “THE REV3NGE” & even I’ll admit myself that it was a Great Value version of the J. Cole single “Middle Child”, but I don’t see how anyone who loves 1999 as much as I do can dislike 2000. He really does an excellent job at recapturing the magic that made his debut mixtape one of the best of the 2010s & puts a more mature twist on it.