It’s Not What You Say….
Written by Jason Terrell
Joey Bada$$’s “All-Amerikkkan Bada$$” is a rallying cry for Black folk. He is spitting 12 tracks of socio-political lyrics that are uplifting, thought provoking, and super progressive.
“I’m reaching out to my children, just hoping that they will listen
Start a new coalition against corrupt politicians”
Joey Bada$$- “Land of the Free”
Just look at the album title and you know you’re in for some serious thought. The first half (tracks 1-6) included his hit singles like “Land of the Free” and “Devastated” and as much as I appreciated the messages, I won’t be revisiting the first 5-6 songs- I just didn’t feel it.
I remember my teachers and family members telling me when I was little that when you communicate “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” I want to build upon this and suggests an alternative, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it, and how it makes you feel.”
Joey weighed in on heavy themes of mass incarceration, poverty, and slavery but he didn’t sound pissed off. Instead, the delivery and production was more suitable for a track talking about the beach. I am being facetious, but I wanted him to bring the ruckus. It seems like he wanted his music to be digested by mainstream rap America and maybe his listeners will swallow gutsy bars like “still got the last name of our slave owners” easier over synthesized pianos and a sing-songy flow.
I am not doubting his passion about the progression of Black folk in America but I didn’t buy his message until track 7. The later part of the album had over 8 features and Joey had to go toe-to-toe with ScHoolboy Q, Nyck Caution, Styles P, J.Cole and Meechy Darko- to name a few.
The bottom line is that he was forced to stepped up his delivery, change up his production, and I felt his lyrics. There are very few tracks that ScHoolboy Q and Meechy Darko are on where they don’t deliver a raw authenticity. I mean, ScHoolboy is the reason they still crippin out in Brooklyn and Meechy is probably possessed by the rap Gods.
I appreciate Joey’s insight and I am a fan! I have been a fan since “1999” but when he is talking about Eric Garner and hidden history, I want him to bring it.