Despite having what me and Terry have decided is our least favorite rapper name… ever, Joey Bada$$ is quickly becoming one of our favorite young talents. Hailing from Brooklyn, Joey Bada$$ and his Pro-Era crew make NYC rap the way it should be made and are doing it better than it’s been done for a long time. Although he already proved his skill with early videos and tracks, his debut mixtape 1999 shows off how deep the talent runs with Pro-Era. Like most of the great rap crews, there isn’t any one easily identifiable quality that makes Pro-Era any different or stand out from all the others. 1999 is filled with weed references, anti-cop sentiments, boasting and even some tasteful politically charged commentary. Their influences are pretty easy to spot, from the oddball eccentrics of The Pharcyde to their Wu-Tang tinged vibes. However, Joey and Pro-Era manage to do everything right with their great taste for beats (mostly boom bap and even some MF DOOM and a Knxledge beat) their consistency in delivering quality and thoughtful verses. Although 1999 is definitely Joey’s album, the entire crew is shown off throughout and they all even hop on ‘Suspect’ at the end of the mixtape. Pro-Era has earned all the hype they’ve already gained and all the fame they are about to receive.
My first introduction to Mmoths was the slow-stunner ‘Summer’ and since then I’ve been really excited to hear new material from the Irish producer. Just like when I first listened to ‘Summer’ I didn’t really realize how much I enjoyed ‘Folding’ until the track was almost over. Over a pulsing beat of bass and shifting percussion, that sounds like a choir of thousand typewriters, ‘Folding’ reveals itself slowly as Mmoths adds and subtracts from the core beat. ’Folding’ reminds me a lot of the way Four Tet’s music manages to grow in complexity over time and I really can’t stop hitting the replay button.
Last time we heard from young Londoner Only Real, was with his fantastic, reverby, nostalgia inducing, anthem “Cadillac Girl”. Now Only Real is back with another twangy, sing-rappy track about youth and wasted time. The video reminds me of a throwback to 90′s rock videos, including grainy shots of Only Real repeating lyrics into the camera while his friends pal around in the background in his bedroom. Although “Cinnamon Toast” doesn’t stray too far from the formula of “Cadillac Girl”, I’m not tired of that formula at all yet. I couldn’t really see myself enjoying a full album comprised of these songs, but for now, these two singles are going to be seeing heavy rotation in my iTunes and iPod libraries.