Joey Badass’ Moving ‘Dead Presidents/Amerikkkan Idol’ Piano Mashup Represents Conscious Rap At Its Best

Low-key, acoustic piano covers of classic hip-hop songs might not seem exciting to some, but for anyone who’s lamented the current wave of rap talent forgetting the foundations of the Golden Era, Joey Badass‘ moving rendition of his song “Amerikkkan Badass” over the piano melody of Jay-Z‘s “Dead Presidents” for BBC Radio 1’s Piano Sessions is a treasure.

The young Brooklyn MC quotes the iconic, Nas-sampling hook of the original classic before launching into the socially-conscious verses from his Spring 2017 release, All-Amerikkkan Badass, lending both songs the transformative quality sometimes lacking from such covers, reasserting that he definitely belongs in the discussion of top young rappers in the game today.

Accompanied on keys by British rap wunderkind Santan Dave, who reveals just how multifaceted his skill set is without saying a word, Joey pays homage to the past while firmly establishing his opinions on the sociopolitical climate of today, just as he does on All-Amerikkkan Badass. While it may seem to some that message rap is out of favor with the youth, Joey and Dave’s passionate performance perfectly refutes that idea, proving that there are plenty of young performers in hip-hop with plenty to say and the lyrical gifts to say it.