All throughout Joey Bada$$‘s decade-long career, he has served as a beacon of hope for a number of different reasons. His classic 2012 mixtape 1999 and stunning 2015 debut album B4.Da.$$ brought a revival of authentic, New York boom-bap — inspiring hope in hip-hop purists to have faith in the new generation.
Then, his 2017 sophomore project ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ held up a mirror up to the racist, hypocritical United States, but told a tale of perseverance and love for the Black community in the process.
Now, as he gears up to release his third studio album, which is still without a title, cover art or tracklist, Joey Bada$$ hopes to stay positive for new reasons, as he details on his latest single “Head High.” Released on March 3, “Head High” embraces the sonic roots he planted early in his career, but sees Joey re-live the harsh realities he experienced as a kid.
Produced by Boston legend Statik Selektah, who has essentially been Joey’s in-house producer since the inception of his career, “Head High” opens with a potent, melancholic verse about how life can kick you when you’re down, especially when you’re raised in the environment Joey came up in.
Wherе I’m from, the stories nevеr end with no happy ever afters
Just broken families forced to start new chapters
A natural disaster, the cycle, in a loop
Are we caught up in a rapture?“Head High” — Joey Bada$$
After his bold, glass-half-full hook about persisting with his head “held high,” Joey’s second verse sees him reminisce on his relationship with the late XXXTENTACTION, who he collaborated with for 2018’s “infinity (888)” and SoundCloud exclusive “King’s Dead (Remix).” He speaks about what could have been, and how much X impacted his life in their short time knowing each other.
He offered me his place to stay, “Thank you, but I decline”
First impression in my mind, “Now that’s a stand-up n***a
Someone I could call a friend of mine and that’s tough, n***a”
Shit, I could talk about any type of stuff with him
Never gave a f**k about who didn’t fuck with him“Head High” — Joey Bada$$
To accompany this powerful release, Joey Bada$$ visited COLORS Studio to passionately perform the song. Clad in a glowing white and cream fit, Joey’s animated delivery adds even more gumption to the harrowing track.
When announcing the song, Joey tweeted that it was “one of the best, purest & realest songs” he’s ever made, and that Nas fawned over it.
Both these sentiments are proven true, as the second promotional single for his long-awaited project, “Head High” reminds fans why they gravitated to Joey in the first place — showing listeners how he has matured since.
Check out Joey Bada$$’s new single below!