By Jason Arline
It has been three years since Joey Bada$$ released his album All-American Bada$$. Since then, all that we have heard from him are his featured verses on the Beast Coast albums and some of Powers Pleasants’ records.
Often regarded as one of the best rappers to hail from New York, Joey’s signature hard-hitting flow, similar to that of The Notorious B.I.G., has been missed over the past year. However, as of July 17, 2020, Joey Bada$$ is once again working on his solo career. Joey released a three-song EP called The Light Pack. In the three songs, Joey announces his return to form reminiscent of his Pro Era days.
The first track titled “The Light” Joey raps about his brief hiatus. He says he lost his way and had to find his mojo before he could come back. Now, better than ever, Joey is set to turn the rap game on its head and isn’t looking for recognition. Joey is set to give a voice to the voiceless, he is the light in the dark that shines.
Statik Selektah produced the beat using a sample from the track “What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life” by Cal Tjader which was also sampled by hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks and many other rappers.
The sample is some soft keys soloed with some small reverb. This adds to the whole light in the darkness motif as each note shines through the silence and Joey raps. The track is brief but it sets the tone well for Joey’s return. He’s claiming that he’s getting back to what truly matters in rap, shining your light to help others see in the darkness of the world.
On the second track, Joey teams up with the President of GOOD Music, Pusha T. The track titled “No Explanation,” produced by Swizz Beats & Sean C LV, has Joey bragging about his stats and skills as a rapper but he then changes his focus to being a voice to the voiceless. He’s been thinking over things in his mind and he’s set to go off without explanation. Pusha T’s feature has him bragging about his jewels and adding his wealth.
It was honestly a basic Pusha verse but he helped carry the song till Joey Came back in and did verbal backflips on the outro verse. Joey has really been in his mind lately and it’s apparent he has a lot he is ready to say.
The final track on The Light Pack titled “Shine” produced by Statik Selektah samples Roy Ayers “Everybody Loves The Sunshine.” The sample gives the record a classic hip hop feel as the 70’s funk loops play and you hear the soul singer in the background vocalizing “Shine” on the downbeats. Joey continues his braggadocious flow talking about how he’s just doing him and shining. Once again he goes on about how he has a lot on his mind and plenty to rap about.
While The Light Pack was a nice eight minute EP to announce Joey Bada$$’s return to doing solo records, it leaves us asking questions and wanting more. Joey sounds like classic pro era Joey Bada$$, the kid who uploaded “Survival Tactics” with his friend and fellow rapper Capital Steez. The rapper who put out the mixtape 1999 that featured every member of Pro Era. The artist many fell in love with and knew would be a star.
Now that Joey has lived up to his expectations, he is saying that he can get back to business. However, The Light Pack is so light that it should be called the “Dim View.” While it features a more mature yet classic Joey Bada$$, he doesn’t do too much on this EP. It has a Pusha T feature, which is pretty interesting at first, but then the verse was OK at best for Pusha T.
Joey says he has a lot to say but he still has not said much for us to get excited about. The Light Pack is a good eight-minute peek into the future of Joey Bada$$ but it doesn’t foreshadow much and leaves its audience asking for more.
Featured image via Pro Era.