Joey Bada$$ Summer Knights

Joey Bada$$ Summer Knights
7
This new mixtape from Brooklyn, NY-based teenage rap phenom Joey Bada$$ was originally supposed to be an EP-length offering. Then, a little more than a month from its release, Bada$$ took to Twitter and announced that it would be a full-length. In retrospect, he should have stood pat with the EP. Summer Knights has Bada$$ alternating flows, showing off everything from a rugged growl to slippery, agile stickhandling of syllables, with the beats ranging from old school boom bap to almost cloud rap-like arrangements. When it's good, it's great. Unfortunately, it's just a few songs too long. Bada$$ is amazing on tracks like "Hillary Swank," where he spits elastic bars above a jazz loop, or "95 Til Infinity," coming off gruff and aggressive over ethereal beats. The highlight of the record is "47 Goons," a collaboration with Dirty Sanchez and Nyck Caution that's oddly reminiscent of early Wu-Tang. The problems are songs like "Amethyst Rockstar" and "Reign," which aren't terrible by any stretch, but don't add much to the album, either. Joey Bada$$ absolutely deserves his position as one of hip-hop's rising young stars, he just needs to learn how to leave them wanting more. (Pro Era)