Joey Bada$$ to Serenade ’Sco with ’90s Flair

Jessie Gaston

The Oberlin Hip-Hop Collective will bring Joey Bada$$, a Brooklyn MC known for his lyrical dexterity and a style that recalls ’90s rap, to the ’Sco tonight. It looks to be one of the more talked-about concerts of the semester, but it’s not the first high-profile event organized by OHOP this semester. The collective also brought Killer Mike, albeit in a non-musical context, to the Cat in the Cream about a month ago. Killer Mike’s Q&A set the bar high for OHOP, but Bada$$, fresh off the release of his first official studio album, B4.DA.$$, is likely to draw a formidable crowd.

Joey Bada$$, a member of the sometimes controversial Pro Era hip-hop collective, burst onto the scene in 2012 with his critically lauded mixtape 1999. Listeners recognized Bada$$’s technical prowess; he often structures his bars around puns, buildups and punch lines. Firmly planting himself in a sound clearly influenced by hip-hop luminaries, Bada$$ builds complex cadences and rhythms. As his career has progressed, he’s developed his own voice. At this point, while he’s still clearly influenced by past hip-hop masters, Bada$$ has gained recognition for not only his talent but also his unusual approach. B4.DA.$$ reflects these qualities. It exists as an anachronistic piece of rap mastery, rife with the same wordplay and storytelling that marked his early work but now combined with idiosyncratic stylings that make Bada$$ stand out from his contemporaries.

Chances are Oberlin’s hip-hop-heads were the first to snag tickets, but Bada$$’s appeal extends beyond fan circles. Matthew Kornberg, a College first-year with a ticket to the event, said, “I feel that it will be one of the best live shows of the year. I’ve heard he puts on a show sort of like Danny Brown. … I saw [Brown] last year and it was amazing.” Kai Shinbrough, a College sophomore who will be in attendance this Friday, also expressed excitement: “I bought a ticket because I really like his music, and I heard that he puts on a great live show.” Both Kornberg and Shinbrough communicated Bada$$’s allure. People expect both great lyricism and a strong live performance from the artist.