Joey Bada$$ is in album mode with new ‘The Light Pack’ EP: It’s been three years since Joey Bada$$ released his second commercial album ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ in 2017.
The album extensively discusses the reality of being a Black man in America and its political climate, and the high quality of the work adds layers to the meaningful subject matter. To date, it is his most impressive project, even including his iconic breakout mixtape 1999. ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ is a masterful mix of uplifting anthems, thoughtful lyricism, and rebellious bangers. Now, long overdue for a new project, the rap game’s longing for new Joey Bada$$ music is rewarded with The Light Pack.
On July 2, after tweeting “I just wrote some heat,” Joey quoted his tweet saying “NO FUNNY SH-T I MIGHT JUST HAVE TO DROP THIS NEXT WEEK @ColumbiaRecords WASSSUP??! IM READY!” He held true to his word when, on Tuesday, July 14, Joey announced his new EP The Light Pack: “It’s been 3 long years, so how bout 3 new songs for your Mind, Body & Soul? LOVE to you ALL. #TheLightPack 7/17.”
Throughout the eight-minute, three-track project Joey delivers straight bars, giving listeners an all-bangers-no-fillers EP. The songs’ production isn’t particularly mind-blowing, but Joey’s cadence and wordplay makes each of the three tracks captivating.
In the first song, “The Light,” Joey makes it clear that he has returned, confirming a full-length album is in the works with, “y’all n—-s ain’t ready when I drop this / The timin’ remarkable and in alignment,” and, “I admit it, I was gone for a lil’ minute / It’s like I lost my glow, yo, my inner light was dimmin’ / Now I got my mojo back.” He seems more focused than ever on this song, and it serves as a satisfying introduction to this new era of Joey Bada$$.
Second track “No Explanation” sees Joey using his soft, whispery singing on the chorus, reminiscent of the hook on “Babylon” from his recent album. However, the middle verse on this song includes a feature from the coke-rap kingpin, Pusha T. Per usual, he delivers a gritty, intense verse including the bar, “Luminol flow, no traces / I am the blacklight, my whole career off of crack, right?” adding variety to the otherwise laid-back track.
The project finishes with “Shine,” whose chorus samples jazz singer Roy Ayers Ubiquity’s 1976 song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” and interpolates it into Joey’s “money on my mind so you know I’m always grinding” hook. The song also includes the best bar on the record — Joey bursts with energy.
“Ride slow with the iron, man / New flows for your dome right out the fryin’ pan / Got that free smoke, you inhale through your diaphragm / I’m eatin’ now, had to change up my diet plan / Never lyin’, I am lion fang / Comin’ for the biggest cats in the food chain / Kill ’em all, the only thing left the fools chain / And who to blame?”“Shine” — Joey Bada$$
The groovy track oozes 90s influence, proof that Joey Bada$$ is a descendant of the most prominent era of New York hip-hop, when Nas and Jay-Z were at the top of rap.
Though brief in duration, the EP is easily digestible, serving as a reminder of Joey’s skillful tongue and vigilant ear for clean, non-distracting beats to rap over. By rapping, “this is mumble rap extermination / this is Godly interpolation” on “The Light,” he has effectively put the rap game on notice. Fans should be thrilled to hear this project knowing that Joey Bada$$ is making music of this quality in preparation for his forthcoming album.
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