Troy Ave Mocks Capital STEEZ’s Suicide In A Joey Bada$$ Diss Record (Audio)
With the release of his latest single “Ready,” Joey Bada$$ seems to have reignited a war of words with fellow Brooklyn MC Troy Ave. It all began where much of today’s “beef” seems to originate – on social media. A debate between the two young artists on Twitter several months ago arose after Major Without a Deal rapper Troy Ave called into question Joey’s status as an independent artist, given the relationship between Joey’s Pro Era imprint and the Sony Music Entertainment-owned RED Distribution, with whom Joey’s label is affiliated. However, from all appearances it seemed that whatever kerfuffle had arisen all those months ago was no longer a topic of discussion, and the success of Joey’s January 2015 debut album B4.DA.$$ seemed to eclipse whatever drama ensued after its release. However, with last month’s release of a new single, Joey has inspired a full-blown diss track aimed squarely at his own name in the form of Troy Ave’s “Bad Ass,” and many are feeling that the insults have been taken to an excessive level.
On the Statik Selektah-produced “Ready,” Joey initiated the first round of calling one another out by name when he rhymed “60K first week for the Badass/200K to this day I know you niggas mad/With the 80/20 split my nigga do the math/My nigga Kirk just outsold Troy Ave.” Clearly, this was a direct hit at Troy Ave’s pockets, one that carries a bit of contextual weight when recognizing Troy Ave’s frequent allusions to his desire to achieve greatness without signing to a major. That’s a commonality the two share, as Joey certainly prides himself on his own indie achievements. However, with Troy Ave’s response the disses have gone from financially and egotistically based to personal, as documented in the lyrics for “Bad Ass.” As he raps things like “drug addict face, what’s on your junkie head?” he is certainly insulting Joey as a person rather than an artist, but in what is the harshest quip thus far, he brings up the death-by-suicide of Joey’s beloved friend and Pro Era co-founder Capital STEEZ when he spits “Don’t get suicidal like ya friend, here’s a casket/Steez burning in Hell, my burner’s in my belt.” Ave also goes on to say “I’m really killing shit. You niggas killing yourself. Fucking weirdos. On the roof, ‘steer clear, Yo! This nigga tryin’ to fly! He think he a superhero.’ Splat, man. Fuck you and that man.”
And so, a feud that originated based on numbers, statistics, and technicalities of label politics has now become one infused with an ugly personal vendetta. Shortly after Troy Ave dropped the track, Joey Bada$$ tweeted “Congratulations, YOU PLAYED YOURSELF,” seeming to suggest that there’s no coming back from such a deeply offensive jab.
Today, Troy Ave called into “Sway in the Morning” and discussed his feelings about the feud, and Sway asked him to explain his reasoning for mentioning Capital STEEZ in his diss record. “God gave you life, it ain’t your right to take it,” he explained. When Sway asks him whether he felt any trepidation about writing the lyrics in question, particularly given that now STEEZ’s own family will be affected, Troy responded coolly “It ain’t my business, Sway…I don’t care. Joey Bada$$, he opened Pandora’s box…I got friends that’s killing shit. He’s got friends that’s killing themselves…We not on the same level, dawg.” Shortly thereafter, Troy remarks on the alleged drug use that may have contributed to STEEZ’s decision to take his own life, but more than that he argues that his intention in mentioning his death was good. “I sent a message to kids or whoever’s listening, like, ‘don’t be suicidal. That’s not cool.'” It’s evident that at some points in the brief conversation that Sway is a bit taken aback by Troy’s words, adding another layer of complexity in the perceptions involved in this beef.
At what point do the rules of engagement apply in beef between rappers? While many would argue that dissing the loved ones, family members, or dead friends of an opponent should always be off limits, others point to that niche of Hip-Hop’s D.N.A. which encourages oneupsmanship in lyrical content. Did Troy Ave play himself, or is all fair in Hip-Hop battles?