(Sorry for the late release haha.)
Ever since I heard Joey rap on his first mixtape, 1999, I knew the Pro Era MC will be the right person to guide New York’s second golden generation. Joey reminds many of ya young Nas, perhaps an Illmatic era Nas. There was a maturity to Joey, because even though he was a 16 year old, he had the wisdom of a sage (just like Kendrick whose nickname growing up was Man-Man, due to his maturity as a child). With Joey’s sophomore LP, he brings the same lovable traits that people appreciate about him (aa (christ) conscious lyricist, 90’s-esque beats, etc…) but now with A.A.B.A, he brings America into it, and he is not afraid to say it. Anyways, on to the review.
1. GOOD MORNING AMERIKKKA
Joey wants us, the people, to wake up and to free not only our minds but free our consciousness. Some of us woke, while stay snooze , a very compelling line indeed. Even when you are woke, Joey s. ays the knowledge can be misused. I wonder what type of hot coffee is Joey talking about, maybe Maxwell House. A great mellow intro to start nonetheless.
2. FOR MY PEOPLE
FOR MY PEOPLE explains to the audience about the many social and political issues that POC (people of color) interact with everyday. It really is “so hard to survive a world so lethal”. We as a society should stand up, fight and be that “hero” that Joey says we should be. We should all strive to not only be good, but great! Like he said. This beat sounds very laid back, almost something that Pac could spit to. I thoroughly enjoy this song, I’ll definitely come back to this song .
TEMPTATION is Joey’s battle cry towards racism and discrimination against African-Americans in society. Now if you did not hear this intro, it samples a recording of Zianna Oliphant, a nine-year-old girl from Charlotte, North Carolina. In the wake of the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by police, she made the speech to an audience at a council meeting. “The government been trying to take away what’s ours”, does “ours” solely mean those who were the casualities of senseless police brutality, or is it more than that. I can sense a radio single from this song, reminds me of “Alright”.
4. LAND OF THE FREE
Here’s Joey explaining the significance of this song:
It was a triple significance. My fans know I like to play with the dates a lot. Of course, it was my birthday, that’s one. It was two year anniversary of my debut album, that’s two. And then it was the inauguration of Donald Trump, that was three. And four, it was the first single off my new album. I don’t really like to call it a single, just because that’s not the way I was promoting it. It was just the first song I wanted people to hear off of this new project so they could just have a feeling of what was about to come, what was going to happen next. I just also thought the timing was perfect.
Now, in this song, he talks about mass incarceration, what our government does to hold back African-Americans, and his mission to help the children of the next generation to hear him out. A great song overall with an excellent message.
Oooh, that wavey beat, I can definitely feel that. This is definitely a summer tune! This is by far his only song were he’s taking a step back from lyricism and realizing “Wow look how far I’ve come, let me make a celebratory song and have fun.” This is basically his “Started from the Bottom” song and I enjoy it. Joey is giving us the message that we deserve to hear and I appreciate that.
6. Y U DON’T MISS ME (MISS AMERIKKKA)
Off jump, this beat is definitely a Kendrick throwaway, probably from the TPAB era. I’m especially fond of the funky funk (I won’t say that again) and the drums. I’m guessing that he is asking these questions to America like she is a horrible significant other. America has not only hurt and shown no love towards him, but towards society as well. Not a big fan of the song but it was somewhat decent nonetheless.
7. ROCKABYE BABY ft. ScHoolboy Q
Rockabye Baby is classic Joey Bada$$, he’s talking about his role in society. He spits about the police, his boys, the revolution against our current president and more. This beat is very Raekwon esque, pure Brooklyn. I think that Q’s verse is one of his best, HANDS DOWN, and this line (From gettin’ lynched in field into ownin’ buildings /Getting millions, influencin’ white children/ And oddly we still ain’t even/ Still a small percentage of blacks that’s eating/ same routines, the same dope fiends) is just another reason why Q’s is criminally underrated as a lyricist, storyteller, and a picture painter. A great song overall.
8. RING THE ALARM ft. Nyck Caution, Kirk Knight & Meechie Darko
This beat is hella dark, like some stuff Method Man or the RZA (Tha RAZAHHH) would spit too, like some Halloween type of shit. YOUNG MEECHIE BE THAT GUY, Shoutout Flatbush Zombies, because why freaking not. A great filler track, Joey was classic hard on this one.
9. SUPER PREDATOR ft. Styles P
This beat is an absolute head nodder, after ROCKABYE BABY and RING THE ALARM, a more refreshing, mellowbeat is needed. SHOUTOUT AND RIP STEEZ. Styles P still has it from his days with the Lox (He is the best out of them, do not @ me). No I’m not a chicken, I never listen to FOX News/Niggas built the country but never givin’ they props due, atta boy Ghost. The chorus is really wavey and catchy (BADMON WE AH RUN TINGS). This song might be my favorite.
10. BABYLON ft. Chronixx
Oooh, this is just as soulful as a nice Mac and Cheese skillet. I never really heard singing Joey, I don’t know whether I should like it or not. Is this Joey’s “U”. I like this Chronixx guy, has a nice reggae vibe to it. Black people also face oppression from law officials in the U.S. as many black people have been racially targeted and Joey tries to bring that ruggedness to him as he raps in the song. This is probably top 5 Joey songs he’s ever released. Just beautiful, every thing about it from theme exploration, to production, lyricism, everything. What really got me was this line “Nowaday they hangin’ us by a different tree/Branches of the government, I can name all three/Judicial, legislative and executive”. SHEESh.
11. LEGENDARY ft. J Cole
I’m feeling late night vibes, maybe even after Sunday service vibes from the production. This is some Planet Earth type of music, some NPR Sunday Jazz Sessions. I didn’t even recognize that was Cole’s voice, way different from his 4 Your Eyez Only voice. I notice both of them talking about spirituality, and finding themselves. Is Joey self proclaiming himself as an legend, gutsy! Cole with a great line here: “How can a rich father teach humbleness to his seed?/Just questions, the stubborn all get taught tough lessons”. A very nice penultimate song.
12. AMERIKKKAN IDOL
Joey outright denouncing negative stereotypes and calling out the government’s BS, I LIKE IT. This song is great, the standout line in this song”Protect my neck and my crown, patrol throughout the town/And they judgin’ just ’cause my skin color is brown/And for that, they wanna leave me dead in the ground/ And have the nerve to blame it all on my background.” This line exposes the reality, and absurdity, of racism: because he’s dark-skinned, some people want to see Joey dead. More than that, though, people blame black Americans for their own plight, attempting to deflect from the real injustices inflicted on them by white supremacist power structures. I also enjoyed the “Dead Presidents” reference. The last verse in particular being his strongest in the entire album, for it offers Joey’s final thoughts on the social and political issues he’s been addressing through the rest of the album. Part of that is making claims about government control and their plans to undermine efforts at liberation. This conspiratorial idea feeds into the verse, as at regular intervals his words are interrupted by some kind of digital interference. The implication seems to be that a sinister power is already attempting to stop him speaking his truth. A great ending to a great album.