Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ first emerged as a 17-year-old prodigy in 2012 with his debut mixtape, 1999, which immediately put the national spotlight on him. Reverent of the ‘90s, a decade that ended when he was all of five, and rapping over old DOOM and J Dilla beats, Bada$$ wasn’t the up-and-coming youngster you’d expect-- even on that first tape, he already sounded wise beyond his years.
In the five years since then, we’ve seen Bada$$ flourish and move beyond the ‘90s homages that defined his early career. Alongside his Pro Era family, a many-membered crew of rapper and producers who also hail from Brooklyn, Bada$$ has matured into young adulthood, his increased skills and mindfulness more evident on each ensuing release. His latest offering is April’s All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, a stirring album with an increased focus on socio-political issues, as is only right for the current climate in our country.
Joey has graciously agreed to preside over MERRY JANE’s latest Spotify playlist takeover, and below, you can check out his selection of current favorites from his and Pro Era’s discographies. While you’re listening, catch a bonus interview with Bada$$.
MERRY JANE: What is your most memorable smoking experience?
JOEY BADA$$: I can’t even remember!
If you were a boxer, what song would you come out to?
Joey Bada$$ - “Ring The Alarm”
If you were going to go out guns blazing, what song would you choose to do it to?
Joey Bada$$ - “Rockabye Baby”
Who is your guilty pleasure artist?
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If I like something and it’s not doing anyone any harm, why should I feel guilty?
What song most reminds you of your childhood?
Big Pun - “Still Not a Player”
Which song that you've released means the most to you?
Who has been your favorite artist to work with? What is your dream collaboration?
My Pros are always my favorite artists to work with. My dream collaboration is to do a song with Bob Marley. You did say “dream.”
Did you actually look at the eclipse without glasses? What did you think of the whole phenomenon?
I’m a little stunned that the rumor that I went blind looking at the eclipse got started at all because it’s so easy to disprove. A solar eclipse is a beautiful natural phenomenon and reminds me of the greatness of the universe and God.
It's been crazy to watch your progression from 1999 to All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. How would you sum up the ways your music has changed over the years?
My musical trajectory, both bars and the beats, has correlated to my personal and spiritual growth
You and your current tourmate Logic both released albums with political messages this year. Did that factor into the decision to tour together?
No, that was sheer coincidence, but I’m happy that more artists are taking a position on the state of the world.
Kirk Knight and Nyck Caution just put out a project together. Any plans for more collaborative tapes or albums from the full Pro Era collective?
Of course! We have a Pro Era project coming before the end of the year and we’re always cooking up interesting collabs.