Been listening to Joey Bada$$’ debut album for the past week and after having one particular song stuck in my head for the past few days, I decided to round up the 5 best songs on the album.
B4.Da.$$ itself is a very good album with that great boom bap sound that takes you back to the 90’s, one of the best eras in hip hop. You have production from DJ Premier and even Dilla as well as the sampled sounds of Statik Selektah. Chuck Strangers, Hit-Boy, Freddie Joachim, Kirk Knight and Lee Bannon also contribute production on the album.
Of the 17 tracks from the album, there are about two or three that I might hit skip on. There’s also a 48 second interlude called Greenbax. Of the 13 tracks that remain, here are my 5 favorite tracks from B4.Da.$$.
5. Piece of Mind
Freddie Joachim produces two of the best songs on the album (out of two) and this is the first one.
Love the drums and the jazzy sound of this one as well as Joey’s lyrics. Joey quotes Nas on “Piece of Mind” and takes us back to 1994 with a line from One Love, Nas’ shoutout song from Illmatic.
Piece of Mind appears on the strongest part of B4.Da.$$, at track 4, right after Paper Trails (see #4 on this list) and before Big Dusty, his first single and another good song to make you nod your head.
4. Paper Trail$
“Money ain’t a thing if I got it!”
The scratches of this vocal on DJ Premier’s production gears you up for some real head nodding. Joey gets in the zone dropping lyrics about him and Big Preme coming to collect the green.
The 90’s nostalgia kicks in as Joey borrows Wu-Tang’s signature line “cash rules everything around me”. This is something Joey does frequently and it’s fitting here on a song about money. It’s the type of song you expect on an album called B4.Da.$$.
3. On & On
Joey takes some time to reflect and pay respect to Capital Steez as well as fallen rappers 2Pac, Biggie, Pun and Guru.
The latter rapper is quoted as Joey declares the song his “moment of truth” which is the title of the song that the quote was pulled from.
Over a mellow beat by Freddie Joachim, this song shows reverence as evidenced by the omission of any cuss words. Fit for radio, the song was the 5th single from the album and released at the very end of 2014.
2. Run Up On Ya
This is my type of track. Not sure why it’s a bonus track because it’s one of the best songs on the entire album.
Produced by Statik Selektah and employing the help of your favorite wild Albanian, Action Bronson as well as Elle Varner on the hook, this song see’s Joey quoting from one of the Notorious B.I.G.’s most notorious songs, his One More Chance (Remix).
Bronson kicks off his verse with a line from Noreaga’s 1998 song Hed. “Getting head in the whip and not crashing it”; it’s a funny line, you know how Bronson gets.
Like most of the album, the nods to two 90’s rap songs plus the production on this song is not only nostalgic but worthy of the rewind button.
1. Belly of the Beast
Maybe it’s the soulful crooning of reggae artist Chronixx that got this song stuck in my head.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a sucker for the blending of the hip hop and reggae genres.
Maybe I’m just playing it too much.
Whatever it is, I can’t stop playing this song. Hit-Boy’s production is on point, Joey hit’s hard and once again he quotes Biggie on the hook while Chronixx does his thing.
There’s a lot of good songs on B4.Da.$$ and you might argue about this list and what you think are the 5 best songs.
I’m not really feeling that “teach me how to dance” bonus track nor am I too much into “Black Beetles”. “O.C.B.” might earn a skip too depending on how I feel.
This is my list and these are my favorites. I’d like to hear about your favorite 5 in the comments below.