Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ is only 19 years old, but he’s got a passion for old-school hip-hop—the kind you normally only find among fans who were buying rap tapes before he was even born.
Over the course of several increasingly popular mixtapes, he’s carved out a style rooted in what’s frequently referred to as the golden era of hip-hop, when a broad coalition of mostly East Coast acts like Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest were making seminal, boom-bap-heavy music that went a long way toward getting the genre taken seriously outside of the hip-hop community.
Right now, Joey’s prepping for the release of his debut solo album, B4.Da.$$. He took time out from his European tour to send EW a playlist of tracks that he has in heavy rotation right now. In true budding rap mogul style, about half the selections feature either him or a member of his Pro Era crew. That said, the left-field inclusion of Kiesza’s throwback club-pop burner “Hideaway”–and the hint that the two of them have a collaboration in the works–has us particularly excited.
Joey BadA$$ — “Big Dusty”
“The first single off of my album and in my opinion the rawest rap song of the year…”
J. Cole — “Be Free”
“This song struck a chord in my soul and was a tribute by J. Cole to Michael Brown. I wish I was on this song.”
T.I. — “About the Money (feat. Young Thug)”
“No one ever knows what Young Thug says, but you just can’t resist the happiness you get from listening to this.”
Chronixx— “Rastaman Wheel Out”
“This is another song that just makes me spiritually happy. Chronixx is like the present day Bob Marley in my opinion…”
The Underachievers — “Chrysalis”
“The Underachievers are my brothers, and this showcases their lyrical ability.”
Ab Soul — “Hunnid Stacks (feat. Schoolboy Q & Mac Miller)”
“Ab-Soul is my spiritual big brother and I’ve been bumping this joint long before it came out. I love the Mac Miller hook too. This song is perfect hangover music.”
Statik Selectah — “Carry On (feat. Joey Bada$$ & Freddie Gibbs)”
“First single off Statik’s new album What Goes Around. This song means a lot to me because I always wanted to rap with Freddie Gibbs but I never knew how it would work properly, like what would we rap about. So Statik came up with the perfect remedy for us to trade flows and ‘carry on’ the spirit of lyricism in hip-hop.”
Mick Jenkins — “Jerome (feat. Joey Bada$$)”
“Okay, so Mick Jenkins is just a lyrical and visual genius. And he’s also my labelmate… so why not trade sinister flows with him? This track is everything that Brooklyn and Chicago should sound like.”
Kiesza — “Hideaway”
“From the moment I heard her voice and saw the video to this song, it instantly joined my list of favorites today. Much love to the lovely Kiesza. Stay tuned for our collaborations :)”
Kirk Knight — “Extortion (feat. Dyemond Lewis)”
“This is the hardest lyrical trap record to come out ever. I want a beat like this so bad. Kirk Knight is an inspiration.”