On June 12, 2012, New York and hip hop fans everywhere became aware of the lyrical force that is Joey Bada$$. To put it in the simplest of terms, the Pro Era General can just flat out rap; on paper, his bars can go toe-to-toe with almost anyone in the game (see "1 Train"). However, like look at the names of the roster then seeing them crash and burn on the field, the ink can be deceiving. There is no doubt that Joey is a great rapper with an immense talent, although the same cannot always be said about his song crafting ability. Therefore, we wait for his debut, B4.Da.$$ album, with bated breath.
Mr. Bada$$ latest single comes to fans in the form of "No. 99;" undoubtedly an allusion to both his inaugural mixtape, 1999, and the number theories that dominate a large portion of his crew's attention. This song exemplifies the best of what the young emcee can do and exactly what he is all about.
Statik Selektah knows how to compliment his collaborators incredibly well, and his production on "No. 99" is no different. He offers Joey a beat that just hopped out of the time machine from 1992, but with enough distinct additions to still keep a slight modern feel. The percussion sounds like something that Q-Tip and Rick Rubin might cook up, with the high octane bass line reminiscent of the latter artist.
Joey responds in like, tearing the beat to shreds and leaving listeners' ears to put everything back together again (which will take multiple listens). He passionately spits about current events, while weaving in brags about himself and his 47 crew. Forty-seven is a key number, he flips it throughout the "No. 99", most notably when he asks how to make dollars out of forty-seven scents. He is as clever as he is poignant.
It's not always a good idea to jump on the hype train after listening to one single, but sometimes a song will warn you to keep an eye out for what's next. Joey, on "No. 99", displayed that he is not to be overlooked and that B4. Da.$$ will feature some of his best work. You should look out for the album, when it drops on January 20, 2015.