By Dorothy Mai and Gregory Zarb
It was a gloomy February day when 15-year old Chris Ricketts discovered a new and upcoming rapper’s first single that talked about power and the state of society. That single was called “Survival Tactics,” and that rapper was Joey Bada$$. Five years later, on April 30, 2017, his favorite rapper is coming to Stony Brook.
After listening to his new album “ALL AMERIKKKAN-BADA$$,” which was released on Friday, April 7, by Cinematic Music Group and Pro Era, Ricketts was surprised to hear Joey had come full circle.
“It’s kind of crazy when I think about it,” Ricketts said. “He’s grown so much over the last five years, lyrically and stylistically. I never would have guessed he would have come back to where he started after being so successful already.”
With Joey rapping about the powers that rule above him and society itself on “Survival Tactics,” he crosses the threshold again speaking even more about the current status of the government and social issues themselves on songs like “LAND OF THE FREE” and “FOR MY PEOPLE.”
Within the first day of release, ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, AABA for short, hit number one hip-hop album in the U.S and number four worldwide. Numerous respected hip-hop news organizations such as XXL Mag, HipHipDX, Billboard, HotNewHipHop, DJBooth, and many more are talking about AABA, calling it a ‘politically-charged” album.
With initial reviews saying the album is a step in the right direction, there are some people who believe this album to be an attack on the police, the government, and Donald Trump. Conservative groups have not come out publicly to attack the rapper, but some are not happy that a rapper is expressing his/her opinions that are wrong.
“I think sometimes some of the celebrities have more power than they deserve,” Michael Long, Chairman of the Conservative Party of New York, said to the Long Islander. “I think they sometimes overuse their celebrity status to try to influence their followers. I certainly take umbrage with his disrespect to America and I certainly disagree with the rant slamming the President but they have that right too. The First Amendment guarantees that.”
In the song “TEMPTATION,” Joey raps about government control to society. Saying, “The government been trying to take away what’s ours. It’s really all about the money and the power, I just wanna see my people in power.”
Along with government control, the rapper does not hold back when talking about police brutality. He says, “That’s word to motherland sold us on stolen land. Visions from ‘brother man’ you seen us all holding hands fifty years still see my brothers choked to death, R.I.P. to Eric Garner,” on the song “BABYLON.”
The 22-year-old Brooklyn rapper will come to Stony Brook University for the annual Brookfest at the end of April. The University Student Government (USG) is not worried about backlash from the public about his album and performance.
“The performer [Joey Bada$$] was booked in advance before the knowledge of his album was addressed to the public,” Justas Klimavicius, executive assistant to VP of Student Life, said. “Even with his album available now, we have not received any backlash from our decision to book the rapper.”
Long Island is a dominantly republican area. In 2016, Suffolk County was responsible for a large amount of votes for Donald Trump, 48.6 percent of the island voted for Donald Trump, according to Newsday.
Many public figures and music producers do support Joey and his music. “His album is going to do great,” DJ Kastone from New York’s number 1 hip-hop radio station, Hot97, said to the Long Islander. “Joey Bada$$ has a built fanbase and they support him all the time, so I don’t see this album doing bad at all.”
Joey thanked Hot97 on his Instagram story for being the first radio station in New York, where he resides, to play songs from his new album.
“We from Hot97 supported him from the beginning and I’m expecting him to go gold or platinum at least [with this new album],” the DJ said.
Joey Bada$$ will be performing alongside DNCE and Allison Wonderland on April 30 for Stony Brook University’s annual Brookfest.