"This showcases Joey in a more modern context of hip-hop, incorporating trap-style percussion and different bass sounds to bring him into the scene of rap that we all know and love."
Sophomore records are always interesting - they're a chance for an artist to showcase their maturity and development, share their new ideas and most importantly, propel themselves into a bigger and better version of what they once were. Joey’s album is good, don’t get me wrong, but in terms of the characteristics that I just mentioned, I feel like he just missed the mark.
ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ (A.A.B.A) had built a lot of hype. A LOT of hype. The first two album singles ‘Devastated’ and ‘Land of the Free’ had the best reception of his career so far, along with the masterful ‘Front and Center’ that sampled the all too well-known Narcos theme song. This showcases Joey in a more modern context of hip-hop, incorporating trap-style percussion and different bass sounds to bring him into the scene of rap that we all know and love. All of the artwork and brand imaging for the project was perfect, and the message was incredible: standing up against the corrupt organisation described loosely as the United States government, advocating for black rights and allowing the youth of today to have a voice. These are all things I think we can get behind.
Then why is it, after all that, that I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth after listening to the album. I’ll tell you why, because the answer is quite simple.
It sounds virtually identical to all his past releases.
Sure, he has fire bars, a flow that would challenge many of the greats and an inspiring message, but at the end of the day, there was no progression. The beats sound like they were directly lifted from the B4.DA.$$ cycle, and if you showed someone who hadn’t heard his music before, I doubt they’d be able to distinguish the difference between his debut EP, first studio record and this one.
So, was it a good album? Yes. Are the songs enjoyable to listen to? Yes.
Is it going to propel him into the stratospheric realm of rap stardom occupied by Drake and Travis Scott? It could have, but after listening, probably not.
But hey, judge for yourself.
We got that image at the top from here.