01 “Save The Children”
02 “Greenbax (Introlude)”
03 “Paper Trail$”
04 “Piece of Mind”
05 “Big Dusty”
06 “Hazeus View”
07 “Like Me” (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)
08 “Belly of the Beast” (feat. Chronixx)
09 “No. 99”
10 “Christ Conscious”
11 “On & On” (feat. Maverick Sabre & Dymeond Lewis)
12 “Escape 120” (feat. Raury)
13 “Black Beetles”
15 “Curry Chicken”
16 “Run Up On Ya” (feat. Action Bronson & Elle Varner) (Bonus Track)
17 “Teach Me” (feat. Kiesza) (Bonus Track)
In times where trap chimes and speaker busting bass over saturate music, an album without songs that compel you to turn up is actually refreshing. B4Da$$ is a 17-track work of art drenched in 90s rap nostalgia. It’s always been hard to believe Joey Bada$$’s young age. His album debuted a few weeks shy of his 20th birthday making it too easy to associate his lyrical consciousness to that of Nas’s when he dropped his first album Illmatic, at the age of 19.
Bada$$ uses his album to prove that he is not attempting to take any shortcuts in this industry, as he touches on his roots, the trials and power of his people and crafts classic pictures of his journeys and overall experiences. He’s aware that his narrative is different, with consistent mentions of his mother throughout the album including an outro of dialogue on the song “O.C.B” (short for “Only Child Blues”.) The conversation between the two reveals their close relationship and why his outlook on life is so grounded.
Bada$$ raps about the cultivation of his mind as an only child and brings his story full circle. His mother offers her wisdom, “Everything is perception, your perception of yourself and who you are, is not what other people think that you are…”
Although you won’t find Bada$$ toting any flashy jewelry, that doesn’t keep him from being honest about his come up and the fact that the financial burdens have gotten a little easier. On the song “Paper Trail$” he begins the track with the opening line, “Before the money it was love/But before the money it was rough.”
In act of paying homage to Wu-Tang, he repeats the infamous “C.R.E.A.M.” motto throwing a spin on the importance of money in our society. Bada$$ shows an understanding of life and survival throughout the album that speaks to not only his experiences but also those close to him. On, “Piece of Mind,” the song opens up with him playing the actual track over the phone for an incarcerated friend as his brethren behind bars shares his excitement and support for Joey’s new record. It’s an organic exchange that illustrates Joey’s love for his kin but also alludes to the self-assurance he must hold onto as he makes a name for himself and for all those who believe in him.
Check out the album and let us know what you think.