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Joey Bada$$ - 2000 (Album Review)

Friday, 29 July 2022 Written by Tom Morgan

Sequels are relatively common in hip hop. Genre masters such as Nas, Raekwon, and Jay-Z have all released follow ups to beloved albums, each with varying degrees of success. Fittingly for a rapper whose music has been built on emulating the greats, ‘2000’ sees New York’s Joey Bada$$ join this esteemed lineage.

Bada$$’ 2012 debut mixtape ‘1999’ was widely praised. Its laid-back approach, which drew on ‘90s east coast boom-bap, was fun, but also hamstrung by nostalgia.

His subsequent albums followed a more expansive template, with somewhat diminishing returns. Following a five-year hiatus and a release date delay while samples were waiting to be cleared, ‘2000’ represents a long-awaited return.

Has it been worth the wait? Well, Bada$$ faces something of an uphill battle. His traditionalist style feels rather tame within 2022’s hip-hop landscape. The genre is restlessly experimental, which makes the straightforward production here feel a little uninspired. 

Highlights such as Zipcodes and Head High possess palpable energy, but lack the gritty, future-minded punch of truly great hip hop. Bada$$ himself, however, is an effortlessly great rapper. He possesses an elastic voice that reels off bars full of life and charisma. 

His brags are funny (“dropped out of school still voted most likely to succeed”) and his insights are also often surprisingly compelling. The penultimate track, Survivors Guilt, discusses loss and mental health with real pathos and sets up the equally emotive closer Written In The Stars.

‘2000’ is far from an unqualified success, but when Bada$$ bares his soul the piece opens up and becomes a more rich and engrossing proposition. Although it lacks a degree of inventiveness, his commanding presence is enough to get over the line.

Joey Bada$$ Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue December 13 2022 - LONDON Roundhouse
Thu December 15 2022 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Fri December 16 2022 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Sun December 18 2022 - BRISTOL SWX
Tue December 20 2022 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Wed December 21 2022 - DUBLIN Helix

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