Joey Bada$$ Ranks Kendrick Lamar’s Albums, As A Fan & Peer (Video)

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Hi. We recently created AFH TV, Ambrosia For Heads’ streaming video service, because we believe real Hip-Hop deserves its own dedicated TV home. But, there are doubters, so, we need your help. If you have enjoyed anything on AFH over the last 7 years, we are asking you to subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and already features some amazing content, but the best is yet to come. Thank you for all of your support.

Joey Bada$$ recently sat down with Montreality to discuss some of his views concerning everything from Kendrick Lamar to mumble rap to suicide. Early in the interview, the 22 year-old MC also expresses his love for JAY-Z’s 4:44 album, as well as the belief that his own music has helped inspire the recent direction of JAY’s music, and touches on his sociopolitical influence, in general.

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“I was glad that [4:44] was definitely [JAY-Z] just gettin’ on that ‘f*ck what everybody else is doin’, I’m about to do this,’” Joey says of the living legend’s acclaimed fourteenth LP at about the 4:00 minute mark. The Brooklyn native adds that Jay’s latest album is “a soundtrack” for the borough in a way that he believes 2013’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail was not. The Pro Era leader states that he thinks Hov was listening to his music, and it influenced Jay’s musical direction. “Honestly, I feel like I was an inspiration to that album… I put certain pressure on these O.G.s in the Rap game. Like, they know what they gotta talk about now, ’cause they got this young ni**a Joey Bada$$ coming out, talking about this sh*t before they got the chance to talk about it,” he added, presumably referring to the political content of his sophomore LP, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$.

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Not to be confused for a diss, Joey also says, “I love [4:44]. It’s great. I’m glad he spoke about everything he spoke on.”

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Reportedly, Joey’s nostalgic sound even garnered Jay’s attention, who allegedly intended to sign the young rapper to Roc Nation early in his career. Joey, however, opted to stay independent (a move supposedly inspired by Hov himself), and went on to top the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts with his debut, B4.DA.$$. Joey made the decision not to sign a major label deal after considering a passage in the JAY’s book, Decoded, in which the consummate businessman professes that he wanted to be Russell Simmons coming up, as opposed to just being signed by him.

Whether or not Jay was, in fact, influenced at all by Joey when making 4:44 is pure speculation, however. Incidentally, he did not list the young artist in his recent string of Tweets naming almost 100 of his inspirations, which included both new artists and veterans alike.

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One artist that Joey makes very clear inspired him is Kendrick Lamar. In discussing his relationship with TDE, Kendrick’s record label and home to Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and others, Joey says of Kendrick, “I’ve been a fan. I’ve been following since [I was] 15.” Joey also states, “Kendrick represents authenticity. He represents real Rap. He represents real artists. He represents real artistry. He represents poetry… There’s a long list of the great things he represents. I appreciate him for being here. I appreciate him for being a part of this Rap game, a part of Hip-Hop history, because before we had him, we was really in a critical condition.”

To demonstrate just how closely he’s studied Kendrick’s work, Joey offers his assessment of the Compton MC’s albums, ranking them one by one. “I gotta say To Pimp A Butterfly is definitely my #1, just ’cause of, of course the message, but he re-introduced a musicianship back to Hip-Hop on a real major, mainstream level that I think was really unique and really needed. So, I definitely would rank that #1. I’d probably rank good kid, m.A.A.d city 2, Section.80 3, DAMN. 4.” Interestingly, Joey’s assessment differs significantly from Kendrick’s ranking of his own work. In a recent interview with Big Boy, Kendrick put DAMN. as his best, followed by GKMC, TPAB and Section.8o.

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While Joey’s respect and admiration for Kendrick is healthy, he makes it clear he’s speaking from the vantage point of a fan and a peer. “It’s also different or me ’cause now I’m one of the best rappers in the world, myself. So, it’s competition.”