Joey Bada$$ and his label, Pro Era, have been highly influential in the New York rap scene over the past five years. How influential, exactly? According to the artist himself, JAY-Z's new album, 4:44, was, in part, inspired by Joey.
In an interview MONTREALITY, the fellow Brooklyn native explained:
"Honestly, I feel like I was an inspiration for that album. Honestly, I know I was an inspiration to that album. There's nothing nobody can tell me. I put certain pressure on these OGs in the rap game and, like, they know what they gotta talk about now. They got this young nigga Joey Bada$$ coming out, talking about this shit before they had the chance to talk about it."
While Joey will forever be connected to JAY-Z through their shared home borough of Brooklyn, New York, and he is, without a doubt, among a select few truly special East Coast emcees to champion the lyrical hip-hop sound that artists like Jay conquered in the early-to-mid '90s, to say he inspired the material on the album, or even the soundscape of the album, is bordering on delusion.
You know how we know?
In addition to Jay's breakdown of the meaning behind all 10 tracks on the album, which finds him clearly laying out how each song came to be created, Hov literally name-dropped more than 90 rappers on Twitter after being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June, and Joey wasn't even mentioned.
I admire Joey's bravado and confidence but if he thinks he inspired a grown-up rap album from a 47-year-old legend that covers marriage, infidelity, parenting and investment opportunities in real estate, I know a Nigerian prince with an amazing opportunity to make a million dollars.