Twenty-year-old Brooklyn rap traditionalist Joey Bada$$ joins a clutch of young, like-minded New York MCs and buzzing Floridian Denzel Curry onstage at Revolution on Friday as part of Bada$$'s World Domination tour.
Since breaking out in 2012 with his "Survival Tactics" single and subsequent, acclaimed 1999 tape, Joey's throwback sensibility has served to remind the populace that fashion has a 20-year cycle. A worthy champion of East Coast, true-school nostalgists, he's carried on the New York tradition with conviction, delivering mathematical, multisyllabic rhymes over jazzy beats between his two full-lengths and an EP. The effect — perhaps by design — is that his songs take on a timeless quality. His rap- and citycentric subject matter, melodic lyrical delivery, and production style are of a high enough quality that they could have easily landed him on an early Rawkus Records compilation back in the day.
But then again, it's 2015, Rawkus has long shuttered its doors, and times done changed. As his latest offering, B4.DA.$$, once again confirms, Joey can rap: "They ain't tryin'a see me in a battle/The lines is too narrow/They couldn't even outshine my shadow," he spits on "Save the Children." It's a sharp line, but again, who still battles? A refreshing positive venture is his collaboration with U.K. singer Ady Suleiman, who previously worked with Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and the Social Experiment on one of this past summer's defining rap albums, Surf. Joey finds his singing voice and mixes in breezy love raps over a sentimental ballad. Sappy? A little, but it's a welcome change-up and, dare we say, promising.
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Co-New Yorker Bishop Nehru just completed a round on the summer festival circuit and put out an album with MF DOOM, while local boy Curry, one of our "Top Ten Young Rappers Killing the Game in 2015" in South Florida, recently turned up his game with the summer's heavy 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms release. Get there early to see his "Ultimate"-ness do his thing.
With Denzel Curry, Bishop Nehru, and Nyck Caution. 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 23, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449-1025; jointherevolution,net. Tickets cost $24.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.