Joey Bada$$ has had to face high expectations. High expectations can either make you or break you in the world of entertainment; and the pressure can make diamonds out of coal, or cause lesser talents to falter. However, when one is able to rise to the occasion and prove that the hype was more fact than fiction, that person has the potential to be a game-changer--and Joey has positioned himself as just that.
Initially praised as a throwback to when hardcore 90s East Coast rap reigned, Joey Bada$$'s ascension came with plenty of fanfare, with many New York heads waiting to see if he would mature into the figure they'd envisioned. Thus far, Joy Bada$$ has answered the bell time and time again. He handles his business whenever he's placed in front of a microphone and outside of the recording booth; Joy Bada$$ has taken it all in stride while showing and proving, building a reputation as one of rap's brightest young stars.
With the release of the Brooklyn native's sophomore album All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, here's a look back at his career to highlight 10 reasons that prove the hype surrounding Joey Bada$$ was well deserved.
Translated Buzz Into Sales
One question fans and critics had was whether Joey's true-school style and aesthetic would translate into actual record sales. But Joey's debut album, B4.DA.$$, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, moved over 50,000 units in its first week of release--a tally that bested first-week returns of more radio-friendly artists.
Stayed True To His Core Audience
It's one thing to build a buzz and capture the attention of the music industry, but being able to stay true to the audience that brought you to prominence while balancing those commercial aspirations can prove daunting. Joey has had no such issues--sticking to his guns and the boom-bap driven rap that made his breakthrough mixtape 1999 such a draw.
Broke Into Acting
Proving himself able to move the needle and achieve commercial success, Joey Bada$$ took even his most devoted fans by surprise when he announced that he was adding actor to his resume. Making his acting debut in the 2014 short film No Regrets, the Brooklynite would build on that role, making his television debut on the acclaimed USA Network series Mr. Robot in July 2016.
Critical Acclaim & Accolades
In addition to his commercial success, Joey Bada$$ garnered critical acclaim early in his carer, with various outlets and institutions taking note of his artistic accomplishments. His debut mixtape 1999 was hailed as one of the best mixtapes of 2012, and he was named a XXL Freshman in 2013, and he earned a nomination for the Rookie of the Year award at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards. A few highlights on a long list of accolades.
Found A Fan in the White House
All fans are appreciated, but Joey Bada$$ earned a huge bragging right when it was discovered that Malia Obama, daughter of former United States President Barack Obama, was a die-hard Bada$$ fan. Posting a photo of herself wearing a Pro Era T-shirt online in 2015, Malia found herself the subject of rap headlines, who reveled in the fact that Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era's reach extended all the way to the White House.
Joey Bada$$ may be one of the more skilled young stars in rap at laying down riveting verses on record, but his presence on a track also translates well onstage--he's one of the best performers in hip-hop. From rocking out on the festival circuit to appearances on late-night TV, Joey Bada$$ has displayed a knack for whipping crowds into a frenzy whenever he takes a stage.
Took Radio To Task
On the eve of the release of his new album, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, Joey Bada$$ visited his hometown radio station Hot 97's morning show to discuss his latest body of work, but would pique the rap world's intrigue for other reasons. During the interview, Joy Bada$$ took out the time to chide Hot 97 radio hosts, particularly Ebro Darden, for what the rapper deemed a lack of progression in the climate of New York City radio. The move was a bold one, and indicative of why he was once championed as a rap savior.
Took A Political Stance
Being politically incorrect is more of the norm in hip-hop these days, but with Donald Trump's presidency stirring the pot that is social injustice and corruption, more rap acts have begun to touch on socio-political matters. Joey Bada$$ has been one of the more outspoken artists when it comes to addressing sociopolitical matters, whether in concert or within the confines of a song, as he does throughout his All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ album.
Started His Own Movement
It's hard enough to get yourself hot in an increasingly oversaturated rap game, but to be able to do so while creating opportunities for your own team and establishing a movement is a marvel. Joey Bada$$ has shown the ability to do both, transforming his Pro Era crew from a rag-tag collective of aspiring artists into a force of its own, and spearheading the careers of Kirk Knight, CJ Fly, and other acclaimed talents.
Proved Himself In A Battle
In hip-hop, being able to deliver on songs and albums is the crux of what artists are judged on, but the true mettle of an MC is tested in the midst of a battle, and Joey Bada$$ is more than up to the challenge. After getting into a war of subliminals with fellow Brooklyn rapper Troy Ave, who poked fun at the death of Joy's close friend and Pro Era member Capital Steez, the rhymer showed just how much of a Bada$$ he could be during his "Five Fingers of Death" freestyle on Sway in the Morning, which saw Joey dismantling his foe with a few potent bars, gaining the approval of the rap republic in the process.