Hip Hop is alive and well, as evidenced at XOYO last night, where New York hailing Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era strong entourage well and truly proved any disbelievers to be, without a doubt, wrong.
Having been steadily garnering a following since his emergence onto the scene some few months ago, Bada$$ touched down in London town where he showcased the lyrical ability and depth he has become so well known, and loved for.
“A lot of UK artists think it’s all about being nonchalant with it. No. We want to see you performing like it’s the last show of your life.” tweeted co-founder of music blog SME following Joey’s bada$$ performance (sorry, I couldn’t help it.) “Fun is cool,” he continued.
And if ever there was any doubting the matter, watch a Joey Bada$$ performance.
Repeatedly diving into the packed out crowd that read like a who’s who of the music industry and a ‘Where’s Joey?’ type Wally book, the desperation and need for someone to reaffirm the original principles of hip hop were acutely felt with the urgent, almost angry – were it not for the broad smiles on the protagonists faces – way in which bar for bar was spat through overexcited lips.
Performing a catalogue of previously released songs (Survival Tactics was energetically played out twice), the trio then erupted into an impromptu freestyle, seemingly as a thank you to the audience who were witness to their “best show ever.”
And if ever there was any doubt of the extent of their charisma, the loving crowd swelled and broke like waves against the stage, all too happy to obligingly sing “happy birthday” to Pro Era’s Kirk Knight.
Gallivanting their way around the stage, charming the crowd and pulling up girls left, right and centre to wipe their sweating brows and lovingly pour water down their parched throats, like true veterans, it will most probably come as a surprise to learn that Bada$$ and crew are not even legal in the UK, let alone the US.
A trawl of the internet failed to deliver me the quote I was looking for but it goes something like: “Don’t praise the youth for being young, it’s the only thing they have no control over and will inevitably lose.”
But for Joey Bada$$, the praise comes fast and thick. Regardless of age, gender, colour, nationality or planet he hails from.
In a world of the try hard, overdone and redundant, Joey Bada$$ and his too big (and too on show) boxer shorts are effortlessly cool.