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.
Powers Pleasant is a producer/DJ from Brooklyn, New York that came up as a member of the Pro Era & Beast Coast collectives. He’s had a hand in the instrumentals on some of the latter’s output from The Underachievers’ 3rd mixtape It Happened in Flatbush in 2016 to Joey Bada$$’ politically charged sophomore album ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ in 2017. However if the Beast Coast’s disappointingly average debut album Escape from New York earlier this year wasn’t enough, Powers has seen fit to drop an EP of his own.
After the “Sway’s Intro”, we go into the first song “Vintage Chanel”. Where Joey teams up with [Kirk Knight] as well as Meechy Darko & Zombie Juice to boast over an alluring trap beat. The next track “Please Forgive” by Denzel Curry, IDK, ZillaKami & Zombie Juice is a lyrical onslaught with an ominous beat while the song “Can’t Fucc Wit It” by Buddy & G Perico showcases the gritty life on the West Coast over an apocalyptic beat.
The track “Pull Up” by A$AP Ferg & Joey sees the 2 flexing over a cloudy trap beat while the song “Hit My Line” by AKTHESAVIOR, Jay Critch & Joey finds the 3 getting sexual over an intoxicating beat with a hook sounding totally ripped off from the Travis Scott playbook. The penultimate track “Purified” by Aaron Rose, CJ Fly & Joey talks about being blessed over a classy instrumental & then it closes out with a decent “Pull Up” sequel by the Beast Coast.
There’s not much else for me to say beyond that, this is a decent EP. Powers is definitely a talented producer, but 5 of the 8 tracks sound like leftovers from the Escape from New York sessions.
The Beast Coast are a New York hip hop collective consisting of Pro Era & Clockwork Indigo (the Flatbush ZOMBiES & The Underachievers). All 3 subgroups blew throughout the decade with the strengths of Joey Bada$$’ debut mixtape 1999, Flatbush’s sophomore tape BetterOffDead & The Underachievers’ sophomore album Evermore: The Art of Duality. Now after all these years of making names for themselves, they’re finally teaming up for their full-length debut as a collective.
The opener “It Ain’t Easy, It Ain’t Easy” by AK, CJ Fly, the Flatbush ZOMBiES & Nyck @ Knight talks about their rise to fame over a bland beat while the next track “Left Hand” by CJ, Clockwork Indigo, Joey Bada$$ & Nyck @ Knight takes a jab at their enemies over a druggy trap beat. The song “Problemz” by CJ, Erick the Architect, Nyck Caution, The Underachievers & Zombie Juice talks about their own issues over a mellow beat while the track “Far Away” by Erick Joey, Meechy Darko & Nyck @ Knight gets romantic over a mellow beat from Powers Pleasant. The song “Snow in the Stadium” by CJ, Erick, Joey, Issa Gold, Kirk Knight & Meechy talks about defeating the best over a cloudy trap beat while the track “Rubberband” sees Flatbush & Joey talks about making dough over a gloomy trap beat.
The song “Distance” by Erick, Issa & Joey talks about feeling free over some pretty keyboards & skittering snares while the track “Bones” by Clockwork Indigo & Nyck @ Knight gets confrontational over a perfectly fitting trap beat. The song “Puke” by AK, Erick, Joey, Meechy & Nyck looks back at when they were broke over some somber piano chords while the track “Desperado” by Joey, Kirk, Meechy & Zombie Juice get at their haters over some hi-hats & an ominous acoustic guitar lead. The song “1 More Round” by Erick, Joey, Meechy & Nyck is a headache inducing alcohol anthem with a buttery instrumental while the penultimate track “Coast/Clear” by Flatbush, Issa, Joey & Nyck @ Knight is a horrifically executed friendship ode. The closer “Last Choir” by AK, Erick, Meechy & Nyck @ Knight then talks about being blessed to have made it in the rap game over a joyous instrumental.
While we’ve waited a long time for it, it’s pretty decent. Everyone all sounds great collectively & I love how they didn’t bring on any features as a way of showing that, but the production could’ve been better.