Joey Bada$$ Brings Back Rap City’s Booth With Beast Coast & Big Tigger (Video)
At just 24 years old, Joey Bada$$ has been a purveyor of 1990s and 2000s Rap styles throughout the last decade—even if he was not around to firsthand witness all of it. The Pro Era front-man often represents a Brooklyn not unlike crews such as the Boot Camp Clik and Gang Starr Foundation, whose members he has worked with. Moreover, “Badmon” weaves a brand of lyricism that is imaginative, stylish, and distinctly New York at its core.
In recent years, Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and The Underachievers have collided to form Beast Coast. For the nearly-10-minute “Basement Cypher” music video, this super-crew flips the channel back to late ’90s, early 2000s BET. They get Big Tigger to restore his post in “The Basement” from Rap City.
Dressed in their best Y2K threads, Beast Coast recreates the booth, glow-in-the-dark posters and all. Big Tigger kicks things off, just like he did on so many afternoon shows. The ageless host (who has since moved to radio) declares, “It’s strange, they’re treating our culture dirty / ‘Cause this year, Rap City would’ve eventually turned 30 / No conversation / No presentation / No social media posts or celebration / I’m just bringin’ you the facts and truth / But shout out to the Beast Coast for bringin’ back the booth!” Tigger, who was a TV gatekeeper of culture between 1998 and 2005, wants the props he rightfully deserves.
Rocking an Allen Iverson jersey, Zombie Juice sets things in motion with a delivery that is anything but throwback. Issa Gold follows, using emphasis on his cadence for effect. Meechy Darko is next with a raw vocal in his freestyle.
As the beat flips, Joey Bada$$ steps in to play power-hitting cleanup. The gold-certified MC finesses the beat as he plays to the camera. He proves that he would have lit up the booth during Rap City‘s heyday. This way, he gets his chance. Tigger steps in when he’s done to let the viewer know that Bada$$’ bars are certified. Moving to M-O-B-B’s “The Realest,” The Underachievers’ AK hits the pocket with a dazzling display. In his Juelz Santana-inspired wardrobe, Kirk Knight is next with confident punchlines. CJ Fly, who has been busy with feature work, blesses the booth with his Dancehall style to refresh things. The moment shifts the energy upward for the last third of the super-collab’.
Pro Era’s Powers Pleasant shifts the beat to Black Star’s “Respiration,” in time for Erick Arc Elliott to Bobby Bonilla the freestyle in his New York Mets jersey. The Zombies member hits the pocket with a stop-and-start delivery worthy of praise. To close out the cypher, Nyck Caution grinds to The Clipse’s beat with a challenge: “Why every white rapper rap quick? / Slow ’em down, see if they can out-rap Nyck / Suck d*ck with the same mouth you spit facts wit’? / You are not cappin’, you a catfish,” jabs the confident MC. As he did on so many afternoons, Big Tigger comes in to shut down the booth highlight.
On May 24, Beast Coast will release its debut project, Escape From New York.
#BonusBeat: Beast Coast’s latest single, “Coast/Clear,” released this April: