They’re one of very few duos coming up in hip-hop, and whilst that makes them a rare commodity, beyond that novelty they’re an excellent act with plenty of potential. Their Inland Empire mixtape had some great tracks on it, and even if it lacked a little consistency it was a good showing.
This project comes with a ton of backing from their label boss Hit-Boy, who also serves as the project’s executive producer- whilst that’s clearly to be expected of their employer, his claim that the tape featured some of the best music he’s ever made (or something to that effect) is not one he’d likely be throwing around too easily. Features include Joey Bada$$, Wale, T.I., and labelmate K. Roosevelt amongst others, whilst Hit-Boy’s frequent co-production credits suggests the beat work will also be up to scratch. It’s a project that could very well see Audio Push move into a more prominent position in hip-hop, and in any case should prove a good listen for mainstream hip-hop heads. Free stream and download below.
Isn’t it interesting that none of the rappers that Kendrick namechecked haven’t responded musically, but almost everyone else has? I’m not complaining at all, and frankly responses from the likes of Budden, Lupe and Bada$$ are more welcomed than some of those named, but it almost justifies Kendrick’s ‘attack’ if they remain apathetic to competition.
Joey leaves the Control beat alone and goes for an original Knxwledge piece, letting out some semi-aggressive raps over a smooth, soulful production. Joey’s performance is good throughout, combining a couple of clever lines and themed quartets with an intense delivery, and of course a couple of light jabs at Kendrick, for a rounded performance that probably won’t go down as a classic but instead a solid listen. Notable is Joey’s ever-increasing confidence, comparing himself to most of NY’s greats, and doing so with plenty of conviction, making for a slice of arrogance that’s more about his ability than the things he owns- welcomed as a relative rarity in today’s scene. Worth a listen, even if it does seem as though Joey was holding back a little.
Now that the plethora of disappointing hip-hop releases in June are done with, it’s time to get to one that’s quite unlikely to let anyone down. It’s just over a year since Joey broke out with his phenomenal 1999 mixtape, and in that time he’s firmly established himself as one of the premiere talents coming up in the hip-hop industry. Now, with cosigns aplenty and a dedicated fanbase, it’s fair to say this project’s arriving with the hope that it’s another great addition to his growing catalogue.
Joey’s handful of releases prior to this tape have all been textbook Bada$$ work, whilst showing a nice amount of variety and progression, and this 16-track release will hopefully prove to sustain those qualities at length. Features appear to be primarily from the Pro Era crew, which can of course be said about the aforementioned debut mixtape, and much like that tape revealed the departed Capital Steez to be a great performer, this effort could reveal new stars in the Pro Era team. Free stream and grab below.
With only a couple of days to go until Joey’s Summer Knights mixtape lands, he drops off visuals for a recent release from that project, giving the popular Lee Bannon-produced effort a little more shine.
The clip is right out of the Bada$$ playbook, filmed across several regular, far-from-glamorous settings that fit perfectly into the rough, gritty nature of Joey’s work. The combination is one that ust feels completely realistic with little-to-no falsifying or scene setting- it’s Joey rapping his lyrics in the local environments that he hangs around in, and whilst that’s a touch too simplistic for many, the style of Joey’s music (and this track in particular) certainly makes it the right choice versus a ‘storylined’ video.
The release of the Summer Knights tracklist reveals a 16-track project that should suitably swell the libraries of Pro Era fans- look out for that release on Monday.
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.
With an incredible number of collaborations, joint albums, productions for other artists and much more under his belt, one of hip-hop’s hardest working men is gearing up to release his 5th solo studio album next Tuesday (18th).
It’s been fun watching Statik’s reputation grow from a bubbling-under producer to one of hip-hop’s premiere acts behind the boards, and it appears most of the genre feel the same way; features are beyond plentiful here, with appearances from Raekwon, Joey Bada$$, Black Thought, Talib Kweli, Blu, Joell Ortiz, Mac Miller, Flatbush Zombies, Bun B, Prodigy, Action Bronson and many, many more in what is a fantastically-stacked lineup. Of course, there are several producers/DJs who tend to get a slew of guest spots on their albums (Khaled, Drama etc.) but given their tendency to hire predominantly mainstream or ‘pop rappers’, it’s refreshing to get Statik projects that are generally full to the brim with MCs that do the genre justice. Stream the full project over at NPR below, and be sure to support next week if you’re a fan.
On 12th June last year, Joey dropped off his 1999 project. Taking many hip-hop heads by surprise, its throwback nature was impressively nostalgic, and given how much his stock has risen, it’s an opinion shared by a great number of folk. This year, 12th June sees Joey drop off his Summer Knights EP, with this effort scheduled to be its first single.
Statik Selektah helms the production, and does a fantastic job. Combining scratches and booming percussion right out of the DJ Premier playbook, Statik adds his own reflective twist with a sombre piano melody and a touch of atmospheric, airy synth where required. It’s a beat that’ll tick a lot of boxes for the heads, and clearly one Joey relishes with another strong performance- his flow bounces along the strong percussion line well, whilst his lyricism maintains his streak of brash, confident releases, with the two combining to tame what would be an overbearing beat to a less forthcoming rapper. Arguably, a little lyrical introspection might have brought out those reflective melodies more, but it’s a harsh criticism; this is a good performance from Joey over a chunky production, and a strong sign ahead of that EP.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.