Joey Bada$$ Reveals His Presidential Aspirations & How Tupac Is His Greatest Influence In Life (Video)

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In a recent interview with San Francisco, California’s KMEL radio station, Joey Bada$$ had a lot to say. Among other things, the Brooklyn, New York artist and actor announced the abbreviated title of a new album – A.A.B.A. – which he says will be his most political body of work to date. In fact, much of the interview centered around the B4.DA.$$ rapper, who is less than two years out from his debut LP. In the past, he hasn’t shied away from discussing the social issues of the day in his music, and with his video for “Like Me,” he dropped some of the most visceral imagery of his career – inspired by Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown.

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At the 6:03 mark, interviewer Shay Diddy makes a comment that takes Joey by surprise, and it turns out to ilicit threads of conversation that reconnect throughout their conversation. “We gotta watch you. You one of the ones that’s always thinking, but that’s a good thing,” she says. Joey responds by saying that he’s “exactly what the government does not like” because he’s a critical thinker, which inspires Shay to say “you’re like a Tupac in the making.” Joey is visibly taken aback by the comment and says “‘Pac is my hero. He’s probably, like, my greatest influence. Not just in music, but period. ‘Pac, Malcolm [X], Dr. Umar Johnson, and Dr. Sebi are my greatest influences.”

Further along in the interview, the conversation shifts to Joey’s feelings of frustration in being thought of primarily as a rapper, rather than an actor, model, and businessperson. After sharing that he hopes to corner the market on “whatever avenue they put me on,” he says that it actually blows his mind to think that he is, in fact, an MC. “It’s crazy to me that I’m a rapper, because growing up I was always such a smart kid. I bet if you asked any of my teachers of my past, they’d never think that I’d be a rapper.” Shay takes that moment to ask Joey what his teachers would have expected him to become, and without a moment’s hesitation, he responds “President of the United States. Damn right, hell yeah. My first grade and second grade teachers? They’ll tell you that, ’cause that’s what I wrote down [as what I wanted to be].”

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The conversation gets more political when Shay asks Joey to divulge his thoughts on the issues surrounding race in this country. “I think Colin Kaepernick is really important for right now, because we haven’t seen an athlete step up and really address these social issues, these criminal-justice issues going on in the world since Muhammad Ali,” he argues. “I think the fact that Colin is stepping up is really what we need, and more athletes should step up. I’m totally behind Kaepernick. I totally respect and appreciate him right now” (12:20). He continues to comment in more broad terms, saying “we have a lot of problems that still need to be solved in this country today. I mean, I’m not President of the United States yet, but when I do become the President, I’d definitely like to fix these problems if they’re not fixed already.”

“All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter,” Joey says at the 14:17 mark, which introduces a conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement at large. When asked if he ever feels compelled to do something like launch a foundation or join a march for social-justice reform, Joey says “honestly, that’s what this whole [forthcoming] album is about…it’s the first of its kind of the musical body of work that I’ve made.” “Doesn’t he not remind you of Tupac?” Shay asks the audience before turning to Joey. “Nobody’s ever said that to you?” she asks him. “I’ve gotten it a couple times. I mean, he is my hero. I’m super influenced by him, I can’t even lie.”

Joey doesn’t confirm many details about his forthcoming LP, choosing to withhold the names of its featured guests or its official release date. However, he does go into some depth about his acting career, the love for his fans, a new song he recorded with Wiz Khalifa, and much more.

Earlier today, Joey took to Twitter to share “Front & Center,” a new song he says is inspired by Narcos.