Joey Bada$$ Performs Mos Def’s Umi Says & Smashes It

In 2022, Joey Bada$$ released one of the year’s best albums courtesy of 2000. The spiritual sequel to Joey’s breakthrough 1999 mixtape a decade earlier, 2000 was named among Ambrosia For Heads ‘ best of the year. Although it was an overt snub by the Grammy Awards in their “Best Rap Album” nominations, the Pro Era/Sony Records LP marked a new benchmark for the Brooklyn, New York MC-turned-actor.

Appearing in triple j’s “Like A” series, Joey Bada$$ pays respect to a classic song from another Brooklyn influence. With a live band, he covers Mos Def’s 1999 single “Umi Says” from Black On Both Sides. The band, including vocalist KYE, captures the Jazz of the song that Yasiin Bey produced with David Kennedy with a nearly eight-minute groove.

Denzel Curry Covers Rage Against The Machine & Slays The Evil Empire

After the 2:00-mark, Joey adds some original flavor to the song, spitting a pepped-up verse that matches the heart and soul of the song. “Just trying to fight the good fight / The devil is a lie, walk with him on good nights / The rebel inside lives a long and good life / Can’t dim my light, nah, that wouldn’t look right,” he begins. He dances and slides and glides on the hardwood floors. At one point, as the song progresses, Joey changes the chorus to “Steezy says,” referencing his late Pro Era partner, Capital STEEZ. On the 2000 album, Joey rapped about the loss of his band-mate and childhood friend.

“[‘Umi Says’ is] one of my favorite songs of all time,” Joey said in a post-performance interview, as reported by NME. “As an artist, I can tell this is a song that wasn’t written – this is a song that was truly just felt… and I think that’s probably what I admire about it the most.”

The 15 Best Rap Albums Of 2022

Like Mos Def, Joey Bada$$ has balanced a respected Hip-Hop career with high-brow acting in film and television.

Black Star’s Madlib-produced No Fear Of Time also made AFH‘s “Best Of” albums list.

Yasiin Bey Discusses The Drama That’s Caused Him To Fall Back From The Music Business (Video)

#BonusBeat: A 2012 Ambrosia For Heads interview with Joey Bada$$ that features Capital STEEZ appearing alongside the members of Pro Era: