Joey Bada$$ 2000

It may have taken five years to get a new full length project from Joey Bada$$, but it’s been worth the wait as Joey delivers a fantastic hip hop album that remains true to the culture and his grind, but doesn’t sound dated or forced as he continues to spit street poetry over slamming production. ‘2000‘ is somewhat of a ‘sequel’ to his fan-acclaimed mixtape project ‘1999‘ and with Statik Selektah riding shotgun behind the boards for the most part, we have ourselves a quality project that delivers the East Coast vibe to ride out to.

From the jump, Joey really wants to let listeners know he’s levelled up, and having Diddy on the intro is one way to do it. The language isn’t as hungry, there is some of that ‘Hollywood’ seeping into the rhymes throughout the album, but it’s hard to separate the commercial success he’s seen through acting and so forth, and not to expect a little of it to infiltrate his music. Nevertheless, it’s a commanding intro on ‘The Baddest‘ and sets the table for the listener. ‘Make Me Feel‘ is a head nodder and mixes Joey’s quasi-arrogant flow with some soulful, club style music before ‘Where I Belong‘ slows it down, gets it darker and more pronounced as JB goes about his business of telling his street tales and come up.

Westside Gunn jumps on ‘Brand New 911‘ and if it wasn’t for the insane overkill of the boom boom boom’s, this would be a standout as Joey just gets back to rapping without thinking, just snapping and WSG adds, well, something as the horns steal the show. ‘Cruise Control‘ is smooth, as it needs to be when you use this sample! Joey B does it a solid with his flow floating over the track and a melodic hook, but it’s always gonna evoke those B.I.G vibes. It’s back to 90’s New York with this dusty drum setup on ‘Eulogy‘ which is a quality track of street poetry and effortless emotion.

Zipcodes‘ is fun, it’s a lively track with a triumphant vibe and Joey’s flow dances on the joint, while ‘One Of Us‘ features Larry June and is a lavish, bling anthem over more Statik Selektah soul. It’s an awkward listen to get through ‘Welcome Back‘ which sounds like a computer game soundtrack, but has some cringe-worthy moments from both Joey and Chris Brown but ‘Show Me How‘ eases some of that with a polar-opposite approach to his tracks for the females. Up next is ‘Wanna Be Loved‘ which talks about being appreciated and accepted over more generous production.

Joey once again hits the mark with ‘Head High‘ as he blends his poignant lyrics and flawless flow over some stripped back, drum laden production with great results. It gets heavy on the piano / organ laced ‘Survivor’s Guilt‘ which is an ode to Capital STEEZ who is clearly not just sorely missed by the hip hop community, but Joey and the Pro Era crew too. Joey spits emotively with a loving energy to his fallen comrade, in a touching and mature track. The album closes with ‘Written In The Stars‘ which once again features Diddy and it’s a full and busy production for Joey Bada$$ to deliver his darts over.

Bangers: Brand New 911, Where I Belong, The Baddest, Survivor’s Guilt, Zipcodes

Score: 8.5 / 10. It’s not flawless, and where it does tend to slip up, is when Joey takes the easy route and dials it back a little lyrically, making music that nearly any modern emcee could make, with that shallow braggadocio and awkward-adultery-is-cool mentality. Where ‘1999’ didn’t have these missteps, ‘2000’ has just a couple of points that take a little edge off the rest of the album which has the hype due to its relationship with the iconic predecessor. It’s still a great album, even if it doesn’t feel cohesive and tends to suffer under the comparisons of the iconic mixtape he linked this drop with.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!