Although Joey Bada$$ is no doubt Brooklyn born and raised, his favourite rapper of all time is none other than the iconic 2Pac. His influences might span further than just the West Coast icon, you can definitely hear it in his tonality and flow.
However, you might remember that just a few years ago, Joey caused a bit of controversy by claiming in a 2017 interview that he is, in fact, better than 2Pac. To go for the exact quote, Bada$$ said, “I already know I’m a better rapper than Tupac is. That’s just facts. One-on-one battle, I’ll flame ‘Pac.”
It’s unclear why he felt the need to come for ‘Pac like that, but he later took to Twitter to clarify, “When I said I was better than PAC (my favourite rapper of all time) I was referring to rap skill. Bar for bar. Not accolades or influence.” However, this didn’t really clarify much, requiring yet another interview for him to further contextualise, “I believe every generation that comes after has the opportunity to outshine the previous generation. Because they gave you their best. Now, they set the bar. It was like, ‘Oh that was your best? OK.’ I believe I am one of the minds that ‘Pac said will spark to change the world.”
That sounds a bit more in the spirit of paying tribute to 2Pac, which is exactly what Joey Bada$$ did in 2015 on 2Pac’s birthday. For LA’s own Breakfast Bars, he had the chance to freestyle over some classic 2Pac beats.
Starting out with 2Pac’s ‘I Get Around’, and making his way onto a variety of 2Pac hits, Joey Bada$$ delivers six minutes of freestyle in honour of his favourite rapper. At first, he flows in a stream of consciousness style but eventually moves onto asking for topics and words to go off, which just adds to the flow.
Whether you agree with what Joey Bada$$ says or you think his comparison to the legend was out of line, it’s interesting to take a look at his take on 2Pac’s beats and see how his chops hold up.
You can check out Joey Bada$$’ Tupac Shakur freestyle here.