Published Apr 05, 2017All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ is not exactly "entertaining"; the beats don't bang, and the lyrics are light on the braggadocio we're used to from Joey Bada$$. All the same, it's one of the most important albums in recent hip-hop history.
Courageous and passionate, Bada$$ is a well-timed soundtrack to social and political struggle. While the album specifically chronicles the horrors of being a young black man in America, Joey articulates his angst in a way that easily resonates with anyone stumbling under the weight of oppression.
On Bada$$, Joey doesn't tiptoe around America's ugliness. He shatters the myth of post-racialism on "Land of the Free," noting that, centuries later, the wounds of slavery are still smarting. He punctuates "Temptation" with excerpts from nine-year-old Zianna Oliphant's tearful speech on police brutality. And on "Y U Don't Love Me?" he details the psychological effects of his abusive relationship with his homeland: "Why you lead me to believe that I'm ugly? Why you never trust me? Why you treat me like I don't matter?"
He doesn't hold back.
But although it's grim, the underlying message on Bada$$ is one of hope. "Devastated," "For My People" and "Legendary," a stirring collaboration with J. Cole, inject a sense of impending triumph. The album is a clarion call to youth to choose action over apathy. A revolution is on the way, and All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ is the sonic backdrop. (Cinematic Music Group/Pro Era)