Joey Bada$$, ‘Summer Knights’ – Mixtape Review
After what seems like forever, Joey Bada$$ has finally released his mixtape, 'Summer Knights.'
The Brooklyn rapper may only be 18, but he's got a lot to say on this 17-track piece of work. His hometown love is apparent -- everything from the Big Apple references in his lyrics to the image of Brooklyn's Prospect Park on the cover. Joey lives and breathes New York hip-hop, which is heard in the old school '90s vibes on the tape.
Although Joey works with some heavy-hitting producers like Statik Selektah, the Alchemist, Lee Bannon, DOOM and DJ Premier, he makes sure to keep his collaborations within the Pro Era family -- featuring J Fly, Kirk Knight, Dirty Sanchez, Nyck Caution, Rokamouth and Chuck Strangers on the mic.
He also makes sure to give props to late Pro Era brother, Capital STEEZ, with '#LongLiveSteelo.' The mid-tempo track looks at the close friendship the two had and how Joey still feels his presence. "Ayo I don't really cry, ask why / 'Cause inside no one ever really dies / Your presence is still alive / Your voice I still hear it / I still feel your spirit in a room feel heavenly with the scent of ya," he spits.
'95 to Infinity,' which he released the visual for last week, is the song that shows his resilience in hip-hop and just how good he is while 'Death to YOLO' is the track that delves into living life to the fullest. Although it's safe to say that saying "YOLO" is past its prime, it essentially is the best way to describe what this track is about.
"I looked at my n---- Fly, as my heart dropped / Sedan in front swervin’ as the car stopped / In that split second, my foot steppin’ breakin’ / I thought to myself, I always knew that I would make it / All it took was patience, and now I’m on the stations / Luckily I made it right before my life was taken / It was too good to be mistaken for happiness and riches / People callin’ my phone, like they happy that we did it / Little did they know I was ‘bout to meet my maker / Till an angel came down and told me that my time was later," he delivers.
Of course, there are lyrics that touch on the unbreakable attitude that young rappers like Joey have at his age as well as the numerous blunts being smoked and women they've been with, which some would say is not necessarily the most profound of topics. His songs are true to his experience, and we can't knock him for the old school beats that he's selected to support his rhymes.
'Sweet Dreams' is a standout, not for its lyrical content, but for the repetitive "Brooklyn" chant in the back, reminiscent of LL Cool J's 'Doin it.' This song will have you bopping your head while sitting on the stoop this summer.
Overall, Joey Bada$$ is a great spitter who is clearly still growing, and 'Summer Knights' is one step closer to showing us just how much more good stuff we'll hear from him in the future.
Listen to Joey Bada$$' 'Summer Knights' Mixtape