Joey Bada$$ – 1999 - 2012 Hip Hop 2LP
Joey Bada$$ – 1999
Pro Era Records – ERE427, Empire – ERE427
2 × Vinyl, LP, Mixtape, Reissue
24 Aug 2018
Boom Bap, Conscious
A1 Summer Knights
Producer – Chuck Strangers
Producer – Freddie Joachim
Featuring – Chuck Strangers Producer – Chuck StrangersScratches – Statik Selektah*
A4 Survival Tactics
Featuring – Capital STEEZ Producer – Vin Skully
Featuring – Capital STEEZ Producer – knxwledge
Featuring – CJ Fly Producer – Lewis Parker
B2 World Domination
Producer – MF Doom
Producer – MF Doom
B4 Funky Ho'$
Producer – Lord Finesse
C1 Daily Routine
Producer – Chuck Strangers
Featuring – T'nah Apex Producer – J Dilla
C3 Don't Front
Featuring – CJ Fly Producer – Statik Selektah*
C4 Righteous Minds
Producer – Bruce LeeKix
D1 Where It'$ At
Featuring – Kirk Knight Producer – J Dilla
D2 Third Eye Shit
Featuring – CJ Fly, Capital STEEZ, Chuck Strangers, Dessy Hinds, Dyemond Lewis, Kirk Knight, NYCk Caution, Rokamouth, T'nah ApexProducer – Chuck Strangers
Marketed By – PRO ERA
Mastered At – GZ Media – 177703E
Pressed By – Precision Record Pressing – ERE427
" the 17-year-old Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$doesn't sound like his contemporaries. The handful of young rappers with tread, most notably Chicago's Chief Keef or the recently returned-from-exile prince of Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt, make music with pomp and bombast, as aggressive as it is catchy. But the kind of music Joey BadA$$ makes hasn't sounded contemporary since the mid-1990s, or around the time he was born.
Today, Joey is the most visible member of a young artist collective called the Progressive Era (Pro Era for short), a crew mostly comprised of students from Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School. These kids take musical inspiration from a time before any of them existed, specifically, the era referred to by hip-hop purists of a certain age as the "Golden Age." That time period, however, was dead if not fully decomposed by 1999, the year of this tape's title. While albums from 1999 like Mos Def's Black on Both Sides and MF Doom's Operation Doomsday offered potent alternatives that year to the power-balling of Jay-Z's Vol. 3: Life and Times…and the literal "Bling Bling" of BG's Chopper City in the Ghetto, rap about "keeping it real" was as rare a find as those upholding the practice. Joey Bada$$, however, is doing his best to further the period's legacy of boom-bap production as an authenticator and advanced-level lyricism as a meal ticket.
The young man clearly has an old soul. 1999 opens with "Summer Knights", an interlude produced by fellow Pro Era member Chuck Strangers, that with its shimmering keys, loop of gentle background singing, and words from Bada$$ decrying the lack of rap "style wit no gimmicks," sounds like the direct spawn of Nas' "Memory Lane". "Waves", whose intro regarding the coveted hairstyle of young black men nationwide is the only reference to the song's title, continues in the same manner, with smooth jazz production and Bada$$ rapping, "Like I told you, I know niggas who trash rapping/ Worried 'bout the tending fashions rather than ascendin' passion." There's no chorus, but he drops a 2Pac soundbite about rap not being ready for a "real person" in the middle of two verses. Wack MCs get a break on "FromDaTomb$", but in the midst of "resurrecting boom bap from the tombs," Bada$$ even refers to marijuana using the antiquated term "buddha." It's not enough to simply appreciate the sound: Bada$$ is wholly invested in the period.
For all his "old New York" posturing, though, he's a prodigious rapper, one who could have guested on a revered proving ground like the now defunct Stretch and Bobbito radio show, only to have his freestyle dubbed continuously from cassette to cassette. "Suspect Niggaz", the obligatory posse cut tacked on to the tape's end sounds like friends trying to impress each other, a lunch-table cipher put to record. Its chorus also happens to come from a song on Nas' It Was Written. Bada$$ himself treats every verse as an opportunity to best whomever you'd been listening to prior (his own group members in the case of "Suspect"), a habit that could have been altogether exhausting for the listener if not for his ability to stay on topic. "Niggas don't want war I'ma Martian wit a army of Spartans/ Sparring with a knife in a missile fight," he raps on "Survival Tactics", the song whose video first flung Bada$$ into the internet hype vortex.
Outside of production from his Pro Era crew, Bada$$ has repurposed beats for 1999 from MF Doom, Lord Finesse, and the late J Dilla. They play seamlessly among the newer productions, something Bada$$ was clearly invested in as Pro Era member Chuck Strangers recently revealed to Jayson Greene. "I don't just sit around making boom-bap beats all day," the producer said. "I make all kinds of beats-- this is the just first thing everyone's heard from me. But Joey had a very specific vision for 1999."
Though Bada$$ released the tape on Datpiff, he's managed to get the video for "Hardknock" into rotation on MTV2. So while it could be that he's keeping his label association under wraps for the sake of building a more organic fanbase, he does already have a well-connected management team in place. Regardless, Joey Bada$$ has succeeded at getting the attention he wants for the music he wants to be making. That in itself is a victory in any era." ( pitchfork)