Joey Bada$$-95 Til Infinity

95 til infinity
Some bad news to start with. Firstly, whilst the Summer Knights EP was due for release today, it’s since been pushed back to 1st July. Secondly, this does not sample Souls of Mischief’s 93 Til Infinity. The second will mean little to many, but as one of the first hip-hop songs I ever loved, it holds a special place in my world.

On the plus side, it’s still a bloody good slice of hip-hop. That perenially-underrated Lee Bannon serves up a smooth production, combining airy synths in with gentle melodies and a hint of vocal sample for a soulful beat, yet one with a thick percussion line to ensure your speakers will enjoy a good rumble. Joey’s general approach to this is markedly different from his usual style, with an overtly aggressive, gritty delivery that steps away from his usual clarity-first nature to inject his raps with an intensity that contrasts the production well. It’s quite surprising on first listen, particularly as the production seems made for a more laidback approach, but the sheer roughness of his delivery really adds that old-school flavour, whilst taking focus away from the mesmerising production and onto his lyrical work. It’s tough to say whether a mellow flow would have worked better until the opportunity arises to make a direct comparison, but I’m a fan of what he’s gone with, if purely for the fact he opted against the obvious option.

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