With his 1999 mixtape, Joey Bada$$ and his Pro-Era crew reminded the rap game how to make nostalgic minded hip-hop without sounding unoriginal. Considering the amount of attention Pro-Era has been receiving lately, I’m really happy to see that they haven’t been trying to capitalize on the hype with half-assed mixtapes and collaborations. Joey’s newest track “Enter the Void” demonstrates that they haven’t been wasting time either as the Brooklyn rapper hops on a track with Black Hippy’s wise sage Ab-Soul. With production from Lee Bannon, Joey steps away from the boom-bap that dominated 1999 and casts away any doubt that his talent wouldn’t extend to other types of beats. Together Soul and Joey sound great and it all the more props go to Joey for managing not to get washed out by the great verses and personality Soul puts on the track.
Last night, Terry and I went to a Pro Era which was a near 3 hour concert featuring every member of the young hip-hop crew. And while the entire affair faded into a wash of solid flows, witty wordplay and boom bap, Kirk Knight had great stage presence and was able to stand out among the mob that eventually accumulated on stage. He walked on stage rocking a huge trench coat and proceeded to turn the energy of the crowd way up with his passively aggressive flow. His track ‘The Creeper’ was easily one of the highlights of the night and he consistently killed his guest verses on other Pro Era tracks (‘Suspect’, ‘Where It’$ At’). Although more material from Kirk Knight is hard to find, his tumblr has more original material that validates all the promise we heard from his showing last night. Joey Bada$$ may be the most well known member of Pro Era, but Kirk Knight is proving that their crew runs deep.
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.
Yours Truly, the production studio which has brought you awesome live visuals from the likes of The Morning Benders and King Krule, just teamed up with upcoming young Brooklynite Joey Bada$$ to record and document the recording of a new track. “Daily Routine” is a nice, short track with a beat produced by Chuck Strangers of Joey’s Pro Era crew that has a soft sample of what sounds like an organ and simple boom bap drum track that sounds like a slightly updated version of the Illmatic-esque style. Once again Joey provides a couple of solid verses illustrating the wisdom of someone much older than his 16 years of age. Watch the track being made above and then download it below.
Sometimes we have to admit that we weren’t even close to the first bloggers to recognize the talent of an artist. We really like staying on top of the hip-hop scene, yet we let rapper Joey Bada$$ and his Brooklyn-based Pro Era crew slip through but despite having some hipster self-afflicted shame, I still can’t deny just how good this guy is. While A$AP Mob has already blown up repping NYC, their sound is routed in some southern and experimental hip-hop influences. Pro Era is pure Brooklyn hip-hop done the only way it can be in 2012. ’Hardknock’ finds Joey Bada$$ at a decision point in his life and instead of preaching about his own beliefs, his lyrics focus on the uncertainty of his lifestyle “I want the gold chains and diamond rings, but I just can’t live my life like this”.