Joey Bada$$ is an intriguing and unique rapper. Born and raised in the East Flatbush area of Brooklyn, the emcee (real name Jo-Vaughn Scott) first surfaced in the early-2010s as one of New York’s most promising young prospects. As an independent artist and incredible lyricist, Scott put New York back on the map when he dropped his debut mixtape, 1999.
Although the project was received well and critically acclaimed by publications, in 2012, most people’s eyes and ears were firmly on the South. With so much talent, upon the arrival of trap music, hip-hop tastemakers quickly discarded Scott’s quality material, fascinated by the latest musical fad.
Badass produced memorable songs such as ‘Waves’ and ‘Summer Knights.’ However, they were unfairly and all too quickly dismissed by the culture. As trap and its derivatives, such as drill, would prosper and become the new sound of hip hop, Joey Bada$$, with his J Dilla style instrumentals, cultivated a cult following and stayed true to himself artistically on the underground in the shadow of prominent southern trap artists such as Future, Young Thug and Lil Yachty.
Nevertheless, Scott continued to release music. In 2015, the Brooklyn act released his debut album, B4.Da.$$. The project saw contributions from classic hip-hop acts such as DJ Premier and The Roots and was a landmark body of work for the emcee. As fans began to distance themselves from the frivolous shambles of mumble rap, the culture steadily began warming to Scott’s highly profound material. In April 2017, the rapper released All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. It would peak at number five on the Billboard Hot 200 and also five on the UK Album Charts.
Unlike many contemporary artists, Scott could not compromise his artistic integrity for streams and likes. The Flatbush emcee seemed to possess a drive and connection to the culture that his peers did not. In this article, we will see who inspired the 2000 artist growing up and find out the song that made him want to become a rapper. in an interview with the renowned music publication NME, Scott spoke on his early musical experiences.
When asked about the first song he remembers hearing, Scott revealed it was ‘Hypnotize’ by The Notorious B.I.G. Recalling the event, the musician explained, “Shit, I was like three years old. I was at my house, and it just came on TV. I remember running towards the TV every time it was on after that. I liked the ‘Biggie Biggie Biggie, can’t you see’ line. It literally hypnotised me.” Following this, the All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ hitmaker was questioned about the first album he ever bought, he revealed it was the iconic 2007 Kanye West project, Graduation.
Speaking on his affinity for Kanye West, the Brooklyn lyricist stated, “When I was a young kid, my mum used to work, and when I got out of school, I used to go and wait for mad hours at her office desk. One of the very few albums she had was Kanye’s ‘Late Registration’, so I listened to that every day, and it made me a fan of Kanye West. So when his next album came out, I told my mum I wanted to go get it. That was the album where Kanye was feuding with 50 Cent, and I was on Kanye’s side.”
Towards the end of the insightful interview with Scott, the Pro-Era rapper was asked which song, in particular, made him want to become a rapper. In true Brooklyn style he revealed it was ‘Juicy’ by The Notorious B.I.G., professing, “I feel like I was born with this [rapping] already instilled in me but I can’t downplay who I’m inspired or influenced by, and Biggie is definitely one of the first. He was from Brooklyn, I’m from Brooklyn, my mum was a big fan and that was enough for me. ‘It was all a dream’, that’s all anybody needs to believe in themselves, know what I’m saying?”
You can hear ‘Juicy’ in the video below.