ALL AMERICAN BADA$$ is the People’s Textbook
With everything going on in the world right now, unless we distinguish ourselves by doing something absolutely incredible, you and I are most likely going to get lost in the chaos that is time, the chaos we’ll eventually refer to as ‘history.’ Although we may be forgotten, ALL- AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ is our story. Like A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-one, Common and other veterans that came before him, Joey has perfectly eternalized some of the very important, but ill-discussed sociological issues plaguing Dis Generation in his sophomore album.
Instantly upon hearing the first few bars, Joey Bada$$ unleashes a flurry of lyrics that directly address the racial tension in America. From the way he continuously spells ‘Amerikkka’ throughout the album down to his wordplay, Joey is looking to reveal the skeletons he believes the U.S has tried to keep hidden. He puts American history into context in relation to protests, police murders, police brutality, pleas from various communities and how it all gets covered on the news.
In recent interviews, Joey has repeatedly expressed the need to use his voice and platform to speak out about injustices against marginalized communities. He broached the subject back on September 29th, 2016, when he sat down with Wild 94.1 and compared the new project to “vegetables,” although healthy and good, may make the listener wary.
“This new project is very powerful. That’s the best thing I can say about it: it’s very strong music. It’s like hella vegetables. It’s hella good for you, and it’s almost my hesitance with it: the fact that it’s so good for you, because these kids these days want candy. ‘Devastated’ is almost like the organic candy because the message is still good for you.”
He reinforces his lyrics by sampling testimony from the real world. In his song Temptation, both the intro and outro are sound clips from nine-year-old Zianna Oliphant at a council meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. There she was addressing the mistreatment of the Black community highlighting the circumstances around the recently murdered Keith Lamont Scott. Joey uses this opportunity to expand her thoughts and then ends the song with her tearful plea. Research conducted by The Guardian did indeed reveal that in 2016 alone, over 250 black men were killed by police officers.
"Do not stop We are black people and we shouldn't have to feel like this
We shouldn't have to protest because you are treating us wrong
We do this because we need to and we have rights” - Zianna Oliphant
Joey also compares the economic disparity between Millennials and the black community. Branded as lazy, coddled, and unwilling to put in the necessary amount of effort to be self-sustaining; both have been vilified, albeit, in different ways. However, that has not been the case, there have just been new economic challenges that we have to deal with. But at the same time, people are getting desperate and are resorting to a myriad of unconventional ideas. Dealers don’t always look like how they are portrayed on the news.
From beginning to end, it’s an enticing album. His lyrical prowess is captivating and immediately draws the listener in. I’ve spent a majority of the day vibing out to it and trying to pick out my favourite tracks but it’s borderline impossible. The ones I have listed below are simply because they are all different and showcase a different aspect of Joey Bada$$
Land of the Free – Originally released during Trump’s inauguration. Clever, creative and classy.
Ring the Alarm – Bars, bars, bars. Don’t believe me, just let the song play for 30 seconds. If you don’t like it, change it but it is highly unlikely that would happen.
Devastated – Devastated that ‘relatable turn-up track’ everyone wants to hear. It definitely helps lighten the mood and is something everyone can enjoy (while?) feeling some discomfort.
People will obviously brand ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ as un-American ( unpatriotic?) but just like Jidenna’s The Chief, this is another very necessary album. Although it’s a slightly different approach, he speaks on behalf of a demographic who often go unheard. I say this record IS history because 50 - 75 years down the line, after all is said and done and the winner has been declared, albums such as this one will be the only remnants of the truth in regards to what we lived through. If today’s curriculum standards last until then, this isn’t the material they’ll be teaching in classes. Think about it; April 6/7th,2017 will go down in history as the day Trump launched missiles for the first time. If you want a different, more accurate portrayal of what the soldiers of the time were enduring, you’d need to seek archived albums such as this one.
Rumour has it Kendrick Lamar was also supposed to drop his new album today. As a big Kendrick fan, I respect that he didn’t. We can’t be sure of what would have happened if that was the case but these are two heavy projects which need to be heard and Kendrick’s album MIGHT have overshadowed its lyrical content in certain communities. Joey Bada$$ releasing today allows us to fully immerse ourselves in his world and dissect the lyrics for what they are; an artistic protest that will forever be preserved by time.
P.S - Check out AMERIKKKAN IDOL, – The is the last song on the album but also a downright dark and terrifying way to end and album.