In Erykah Badu’s recent Vulture interview, she defended so-called “mumble rap” by noting that detractors “don’t understand that the important thing is the vibration, not the words.” Joey Badass referred to those same vibrations in a series of tweets condemning modern rap. It’s just another example that perceptions of hip-hop are less defined by age as they are ideology. Joey crafted a lyrically dense, progressive album with All-Amerikkkan Badass, and has long been seen as one of the few mainstream MCs that harkens to traditionalist sensibilities.
That’s why it’s not entirely surprising to see him tweet that “rap is in a very trash state rn with very few exceptions that don’t even get the love and attention that they deserve.” He followed up by asking, “where’s y’all n****s souls at???,” before noting that “music is the most influential force in the world. Pay attention to what’s being over saturated. It says something about the generation. Sound is vibration.”
Joey’s comments are thoughtful and appear to come from the right place, but what’s curious is that he’s apparently about to do a collaboration project with XXXtentacion, who is one of the primary targets of traditionalists with his gloomy, genre-bending sound – and abhorrent behavior. Badass also recently admitted to co-writing Post Malone’s “Rock Star” record, which fits right in the pocket of the modern rap it seems like he was referring to.
It’s unknown what contributions he gave to the former number one record, but given that the track mentions “f*ckin’ h*es,” “poppin pillies,” and “cocaine on the table,” it seems a bit ironic. Badass is young, and has the right to evolve and exist in a dissonance just like everyone else, but the circumstance is a bit befuddling. When he sarcastically tweets, “goodnight I’m gonna go make a trap record,” one can’t help but think that the last one he was involved in went number one. That why the tweet doesn’t work as a snide shot as much as it does as an inadvertent reminder of his versatility and ability to influence the trap sound with the vibrations that he wants.