In the grueling five year gap between Joey Bada$$’s 2017 studio album ALL-AMERIKKAN BADA$$ and his latest LP 2000 from July, fans had been gathering all the potential “BADMON” unreleased tracks, snippets, previews, etc. that would have a chance of landing on the album.
Although the highly-anticipated effort, 2000, experienced delays due to “sample clearance issues” among other things, Joey’s new album certainly ended up being as badass as he is. Well worth the wait, the New York native’s latest record sees him uncover more truths about his tough upbringing — showcasing a true sense of self-awareness and pride in who he is regardless of his pitfalls.
But now, a little over a month since its July 22 release, 2000 has been gifted another addition to the track list. A fan favorite from the grail of unreleased Joey cuts, “Let It Breathe” was released on Aug. 26 as a single, and will be included on the album in the near future.
Released as solely a YouTube exclusive in January 2021, it’s clear Joey was waiting for some clearances to ultimately give his supporters “Let It Breathe” on DSPs.
The song was originally put out in celebration of Joey’s 26th birthday, as he conveys how he wants his flowers before he’s gone.
Want you to celebrate me like I’m dead already
Like this crown up on my head is heavy
Swear I’m raisin’ every bar, and it’s like they never ready
Put my picture in the dictionary next to legendary“Let It Breathe” — Joey Bada$$
For those that were prematurely announcing that “Joey fell off,” 2000’s final version makes them think again. As his potential magnum opus, boasting features from Chris Brown, JID, Diddy, Westside Gunn and more, Joey’s 14-song return is truly an extravagant one — going four-for-four with its pre-released singles. The colorful artwork shares similarities to its companion mixtape 1999, with him posted up on a street corner in his beloved hometown of Brooklyn.
The final promotional single “Zipcodes” is a dominant highlight off the record. Driven by effective drums and cymbals produced by PRO ERA artist Kirk Knight — who has provided the instrumentals for previous Joey hits like “Land of the Free,” “Hazeus View” and “Devastated” — the song touches on the miles Joey’s traveled and steps forward he’s made in his career, all while repping his hometown Brooklyn.
Life is too short, we came a long way
From pissy hallways to courtside up in Barclays (Yeah)
Stuntin’ is a sport, the way I’m ballin’, we could all play (Ballin’)
My cup overflowin’, I’m feelin’ fine in this Chardonnay
I dropped seven bands in Rick Owens, it was a calm day
Prices lookin’ like a ZIP Code, I switch zones when it get cold
So they gon’ have to throw they shade from far away“Zipcodes” — Joey Bada$$
The accompanying music video shares the same sentiment, showing footage of Joey’s recent trips to France at The Louvre and Italy for his song “The Highs & The Lows” with Chance The Rapper, as well as him kicking it in Brooklyn and performing at a Nets basketball game. During the skit at the end of the song, spoken by longtime friend @louieguccilex, shots of Joey hanging with the album’s feature guests proved how star-studded the album’s roster is.
“Zipcodes” was just the latest chapter of a busy rollout for Joey. After sharing the record’s second single “Where I Belong” on July 1 — following his potent feature on “The Highs & The Lows” (June 17) — Bada$$ was back in action the same week (July 6), dropping the album’s third promotional offering “Survivor’s Guilt.”
The song honors his fallen friend Capital Steez, who founded Joey’s label Pro Era and was poised to be one of the greatest lyricists of this generation. As Bada$$ continued to gift his fans with new music to make up for the LP’s lengthy pushback, this track saw him continue with contemplative, heartfelt releases similar to the first promotional single “Head High.”
Over the melancholic piano beat and introduced by a monologue from Steez, Joey hopes to make amends for disagreements he’s had in the past with Steez’s family as well as pay tribute to his late confidant.
If you ain’t know Steelo, then you don’t know me though (No)
And that’s how I separate all the real from fake people (Yeah)
Or the real from fake fans (Uh-huh)
Who claimin’ that they stans (Uh-huh)
But they ain’t know my mans (No)“Survivor’s Guilt” — Joey Bada$$
“Where I Belong,” the first of three singles Joey provided in July, is produced by frequent collaborator Statik Selektah. The track fittingly sees Joey embrace his Brooklyn roots, much like he has his entire career and specifically on 1999 — the precursor to his upcoming album.
Opening with the bar “Back on the set like I never left,” Joey’s lyrics see him revisit fond memories of his upbringing such as the building he lived in on Snyder Avenue, his cousin “Richie Rich” and driving around in his mom’s car. The visuals catch Joey hanging out in a skate park in his neighborhood.
I pray the Lord have mercy on a nigga soul
We reminiscin’, reminiscin’ like it’s all we know
Take hollow tips and extra clips everywhere we go
‘Cause I be takin’ risk every time that I hit the doorJoey Bada$$ — “Where I Belong”
Joey Bada$$ initially rolled out 2000 on May 11, taking to social media to announce its original release date for June 17. The aforementioned teaser video attached to the announcement shows him chilling in a New York skate park, proving to be a snippet of “Where I Belong’s” official visual.
When speaking on “Head High” in an interview with XXL, which touches on his close friendship with XXXTENTACION that was cut short, he emphasized how much he cherished the track.
“This is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever recorded,” he said. “This is an essential, one of the greatest, most mature, heartfelt records that I’ve ever written… nobody is putting sh*t out like this right now.”
Back in December, Joey caught up with OGM host Hakeem Rowe backstage at Day N Vegas festival. Alongside Denzel Curry, the Melt My Eyez emcee made a guarantee to hip-hop fans that he and Joey were about to take over. “I’m gonna let y’all know right now, we gon’ have the best albums of 2022,” he proclaimed.
Denzel had since held up his end of the bargain heading into July, releasing his jaw-dropping studio album Melt My Eyez See Your Future on March 25. With all eyes on him, Joey Bada$$ delivered his project knowing how much the hip-hop community needed it: “I’m just ready for it to come out,” he said. “I know the world needs new Joey music. Sh*t, Joey wants to give the world new music.”
Listen to ‘2000’ below!