The Overlooked Brilliance of Joey Bada$$' "Devastated"

It looks like Joey has more tricks up his sleeve than he’s willing to let on.

Based on hip-hop’s attention span track record, we shouldn’t still be hearing about Joey Bada$$. Up until now, the young Brooklyn emcee has been the most notable in a long line of contemporary artists looking to snatch the torch from hip-hop’s Golden age and drag it to the present day. Frustratingly, such a move isn't usually rewarded with longevity in this game, yet the difference between Joey and a thousand other artists isn't just an abundance of talent but the intellect to match.

Several months ago, Joey released a brand new single entitled “Devastated." The record serves as an anthem for the Pro Era leader's career up to this point, and his core fans...fucking hate it. While on one hand, this is yet another instance of a fan base not wanting their beloved artist to evolve, the rejection of the song by Joey’s more hardcore supporters is a perfect indication of the song’s success. 

“Devastated” marks a clear departure from Bada$$’ usual sound and approach and showcases a self-awareness that lends itself to many more years of success. As Rico Richie once said, “If you ain’t got no haters, you ain’t poppin.”

Joey made a name for himself riding the "90s East Coast Golden age revivalist" wave, and just before the risk of being pigeonholed presented itself, he not only took a supporting role on Mr. Robot, but he unleashed a song that should expand his audience and let the world know that he has a lot more up his sleeve than he's been letting on. The timing of this decision was truly genius.

Joey was undoubtedly well aware that, even though he had done it better than countless others before him, he was closing in on that boom bap revitalization ceiling. “Devastated” is Joey smirking at fans and critics alike, mumbling, “Oh, you thought that was all I could do? Watch this.”

While the song isn't currently charting on the Billboard Hot 100, the video has racked up 2.3 million views and plenty of conversation. I'm looking forward to what's next—you should be, too.