Put your hand in the air if Joey Badass‘ newest track “Devastated” was a startling change of pace for you. Some saw the positive track as the Pro Era head honcho taking a step away from his grimy boom-bap origins, but with the rewards he’s been reaping lately, he’s in a new headspace.
“You could have every song in [an artist’s] catalog; there’s still about 50 songs you’ve never heard from that man,” he said in an interview with WiLD 94.1. “It’s just what I’ve exposed the world to is a certain type of sound…or direction of music. That’s why when I do things that’s not there, people are confused. They’re like ‘What’s goin’ on? That’s not Joey. This is not the Joey that I know.'”
The talk quickly segued from fans who grew up with Joey into questions about his follow up to his 2014 commercial debut B4.Da.$$ – which is titled A.A.B.A. – and what he said caught my ear. “This new project is very powerful. That’s the best thing I can say about it; it’s very strong music,” he continued. “It’s like, hella vegetables. It’s hella good for you and it’s almost my hesitance with it; the fact that it’s so good for you because these kids these days want candy. “Devastated” is almost like the organic candy because the message is still good for you.”
Terrible food analogy and potential hotepery aside, Joey is on a mindful tip that’s echoed by his peers. Danny Brown talked with Timmhotep and NPR about how “no body wants to be the smart guy” in today’s rap climate where good vibes reign supreme. There’s a time and a place for emotional wellness and for the cold hard truth, but Joey isn’t even the first artist to ask why we can’t have both this year. Noname’s Telefone tackles some of the same issues I’m sure Joey will with just as much positive energy. Either way, will A.A.B.A. help the two meet in the middle?