Joey Bada$$ is searching for freedom.
On his latest offering, "Thugz Cry," the Brooklyn rapper and Pro Era head honcho pays homage to Prince’s “When Doves Cry” while also flexing his singing chops. The earthy timbre of his voice adds a tinge of understandable desperation as he sings, “I just wanna be free,” with eyes-closed, mic-gripping conviction.
Joey’s hurting soul makes its way into the raps, too; the first verse bottoms out nicely under the weight of his delivery while the second is the MC in tip-top form, spitting political bars like a madman.
Bada$$, who debuted the live version of "Thugz Cry" earlier this month on Australia’s Triple J radio station, originally intended to place the record on his sophomore album, ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, but when he could not get the Prince sample cleared, he was forced to temporarily backburner it. A real shame, because “Thugz Cry”—produced by 1-900 and NasteeLuvzYou—evidences Joey Bada$$ to be true master of fusing melody with the grittiness of New York hip-hop.