Single of the Week: Joey Bada$$ - "Hardknock" [Feat. CJ Fly]
There's a lot that's already been discussed about breakthough Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ and his just-released mixtape 1999: around his age, his flow and fondness of boom-bap "golden era" production styles. All of these things are of course true, and Joey already has not only the wordplay of a great rapper but the ear for suitable beats (the ability to make J Dilla and MF DOOM beats his own is something to be recognized). There are places thoughout 1999 where these things don't quite come together but the tape is mostly consistent with some solid peaks, the highest of these being second single "Hardknock". Joey's social grasp through his lyrics have earned him a few Illmatic-era Nas comparisons, and Pro Era guest CJ Fly is no slouch on his verse either. Like Kendrick Lamar the two sound wise beyond their years, concerning themselves with the long-term effects of their actions and lifestyles. Also like Kendrick Joey can really let rip on his verses too; for the technical hip-hop fan the track's third verse is another delight, and will probably be returned to many times throughout the year.
Download "Hardknock", with the rest of 1999 for free here