Joey Badass Talks Debut Album B4.Da.$$: "Just Taking My Time, Not Forcing Anything"
Like a Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten, the spirit of rebellion is alive in Joey Badass, the 18-year-old rapper who fronts up-and-coming Brooklyn collective Pro Era.
The crew came together in 2009 at Edward R. Murrow High School, the same place that spawned renowned creatives like graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch.
Bored by the mass-produced, lyrically shallow hip-hop being pushed by the media, Badass and Pro Era decided to take matters into their own hands.
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Just out of high school, and the first of his immediate Jamaican family to be born in the U.S., Badass put out two mixtapes and garnered approval from big alternative media outlets like Vice, Pitchfork, and Interview Magazine. He was even offered a deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation, which he famously turned down.
This Friday, joined by Ab-Soul and Pro Era players, Joey Badass will hit Grand Central with a sampling of his laid-back beats, intelligent rhymes, and smooth, West Indian-flavored flow.
So in anticipation of his trip to the 305, we here at Crossfade caught up with the cheeky young rapper as he prepped for a much-needed nap. Topics included the best food in Brooklyn, his backup career in the NBA, and the current status of his debut album, B4.Da.$$, due out next year.
Crossfade: You're on the Smokers Club Tour with Ab-Soul and the whole crew. What's been one of the best moments so far?
Joey Badass: Probably the Santa Ana show. It was sold out, and there was a lot of energy.
What's something you can't live without on the road?
Music. Just a lot of beats. Beats I'm making, other people making, [beats by] Kirk Knight.
What's the best part about growing up in Brooklyn?
Probably the food, and the people.
Best food in Brooklyn?
West Indian food.
Like your mom's food?