By Adrianna Elias
Joey Valence and Brae, college friends turned dynamic musical duo determined to keep their dream alive. Fueled by the influences of iconic acts like the Beastie Boys and a treasure trove of ’90s references ranging from Mortal Kombat to Nike Airs and Super Mario, Joey Valence & Brae (JVB) have embarked on a musical journey that’s equal parts nostalgic and infectious. Their hodgepodge sound is credited to the crafting in Joey’s bedroom, rapidly gaining traction among indie hip-hop enthusiasts and Gen Z fans, launching them to festival stages and earning them massive TikTok virality.
Their track “PUNK TATICS” set TikTok ablaze, and JVB followed it up with a full album release in September.
In your first experience with a Joey Valence & Brae track, you immediately think of the legends that are the Beastie Boys from New York City. While it’s undeniable they resemble the Beastie Boys, they have embraced this comparison and turned it into a central part of their brand. Both acknowledge this similarity but also point out that it’s inevitable given their musical upbringing, it’s what they grew up on. Michael Jackson and Wu-tang played in the house so naturally JVB fell into the hip-hop sound.
They aren’t plain copycats; their quick and witty lyricism, tailored for a Gen Z audience, position them as spiritual successors to the legendary trio. The homage is evident, from their vocal delivery to their beat-driven compositions and ample use of samples. Even their exploration of scabby hardcore punk in ‘STREET PIZZA’ and the opening riff of ‘CLUB SANDWICH’ being their nod to “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” showcase their dedication to paying homage while adding their unique twist.
Beyond their sound, the JVB discography is a riddle of references spanning decades of pop culture. From Star Wars to Mortal Kombat to Power Rangers, the musicians’ interests shine through their funny, quick-paced lyrics. One standout example is the track ‘DELINQUENT,’ which is a meme paradise. What I wonder is: will these references withstand the test of time?
Their music has been described as reminiscent of ’90s hits and as fitting into the modern digital age, incorporating memes into their music. This is a blend that brings to mind acts like Brockhampton, Paris Texas, Danny Brown, and Jpegmafia. With references piled on references, JVB’s music is a wet dream for pop culture enthusiasts, delivering high-energy music that resonates with Gen Z listeners. Listeners have praised their blend of hardcore punk, rap, electronic, and internet/pop culture elements, creating a unique and captivating musical experience. From the bass-heavy ‘STARTAFIGHT’ to the nostalgic ‘DANCE NOW,’ their music appeals to a wide audience, and suspiciously fits right into my repertoire of genreless sound that I constantly search for and praise.
Joey Valence & Brae may wear their influences on their sleeves, but they are carving out their own niche in the world of hip-hop. With their infectious energy, eclectic references, and undeniable talent, they are assured of making a lasting impact on the music scene, appealing to both nostalgia seekers and the next generation of music fanatics.
Written by: Danielle De Lucia