Joey Bada$$ represents for the 2022 with the release of “2020.”
5. The Baddest
Plot twist: Diddy wrote Joey Bada$$’s lyrics on “The Baddest.”
Can you imagine if Joey Bada$$ was signed to Bad Boy? Aside from missing a few checks, I think he would fit in nicely with the label’s competitive + flashy nature. In “The Baddest,” we get to simulate that activity.
You get a very impressive performance from Joey on “The Baddest.” In the song, he flows stupendously, dishes out lyrics that will remind you how sly he is, and even emulates Biggie’s style just a tad. I think the track is refreshingly 1997.
4. Where I Belong
Joey Bada$$ proves that he belongs in someone’s ‘top 5 MCs of New York’ list with “Where I Belong.”
“Where I Belong” feels so New York, to me. In the song, Joey spits cold-ass bars about his rough come-up, his rise to the top, and his bright future over a beat that gives me VERY old-school hip-hop vibes. As expected, the way he surfs through the track hitting us with sly flows will make you crown him as the coolest MC in the game.
This song makes me want to go back to New York just to get that quick random trash smell on the streets.
3. Cruise Control
The way Joey Bada$$ rides the beat attached to “Control Control” is impeccable (Do you like what I did there?).
This is easily one of the most complete tracks on this album. It features a traditional R&B hook, motivational verses, great rap flows, a heartwarming Big Pun reference, and even a Nas co-sign. What else can you ask for?
2. Head High
Joey does some great storytelling in “Head High.”
In the first verse of “Head High,” Joey Bada$$ drops wisdom-filled bars that will remind folks in the hood to have their head on a swivel. In the second verse, he raps about befriending XXXTENTACION and how the fallen rapper was genuinely a standup guy to him. What I absolutely love is how poised and mature Joey sounds over the Statik Selektah production, reminding us that the young kid that we once touted as having next is now a veteran in the game (This song really felt like his transition).
1. Survivors Guilt
Everyone will be able to feel Joey’s stories in “Survivors Guilt.”
In “Survivors Guilt,” Joey Bada$$ pays homage to two of his late cousins; one of them being rapper Capital Steez. Not only does he rap about their unfortunate downfalls, but he also raps about the good ole times they had in the past. While you’re probably used to hearing an aggressive Joey, in this particular song, he sounds subdued, matching the dreary production.
Ab-Soul closes out “Survivors Guilt” with some very touching words about Capital Steez and Joey Bada$$. Very dope to hear.
SONG BY SONG RATING
1. The Baddest (5/5)
2. Make Me Feel (4/5)
3. Where I Belong (4/5)
4. Brand New 911 (4/5)
5. Cruise Control (4/5)
6. Eulogy (4/5)
7. Zipcodes (4/5)
8. One Of Us (4/5)
9. Welcome Back (3/5)
10. Show Me (4/5)
11. Wanna Be Loved (4/5)
12. Head High (5/5)
13. Survivors Guilt (5/5)
14. Written in the Stars (4/5)
Let me get this out of the way immediately: This whole album is good. I have my top 5 songs, but all are pretty equally solid.
If you grew up on east coast rap as I did, you can appreciate 2000. Stylistically, I feel like the album never deviates from an early 90s sound (Ironically). Yes, Joey’s raps are a big reason for that, but I think it’s mainly the production’s fault. You can tell that he wanted his album to have a bunch of beats that mimicked the ones that we heard on Reasonable Doubt, Illmatic, and more. As a 90s kid, I give the production about a B+.
Joey Bada$$’s name never comes up when we talk about the best MCs in the game, and I get it. While he doesn’t come across as grandiose as the Jay-Zs or Coles of the world, I still think that he’s a damn good rapper. In 2000, I absolutely love how competitive, raw, old-school, calculated, skilled, and New York Joey sounds. Do I wish that his punchlines were a little more potent? Yes. Do I wish that he sounded a little more animated? Yes. At the end of the day, though, he delivers. I give his raps on this album a B.
2000 is a damn good listen. The biggest thing that it proves to me is that there are still some guys in the game that studied who came before them to make sure they are better versions of who they are for the future.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.