It’s crazy to think that this young man doesn’t even have an album out yet. Touring off of mixtapes alone is a recent trend due to the internet’s dominance on media. Joey Bada$$ is no exception. He is three projects in (including a Pro Era compilation tape) and commands respect like a vet. The young phenom from Brooklyn turned in an awe inspiring performance during the Boston area stop of his Beast Coast tour on April 3. Fresh off of his epic Paid Dues performance, he stepped on the stage at the Middle East in Cambridge and showed exactly why he’s one of the most talked about MC’s in the blogosphere. Possessing a mature and gritty voice floating over Golden era production, he transformed the grimy rock club into a Brooklyn house party.
With producer and frequent collaborator Statik Selektah on the turntables, Joey takes the stage and establishes himself as a commanding young MC. His stage presence and confidence is almost unheard of from other artists his age. He performs “Waves”, his verse on “1 Train”, and other bangers from the 1999 tape. Then some members from Pro Era join him on stage for their set. Now usually when a rapper brings his friends on tour with him, they are nothing more than glorified hype men, but not this time. Pro Era took the stage and traded verses like the best of them. For all the artists being so young, they shared the same presence and skill that Joey had. It was really great to see.
After a couple tracks they went into a Capital Steez tribute by playing his verses on tracks like “Interlude 47” and “Survival Tactics.” His Pro Era crew joined him for a charismatic performance of one of their most popular tracks “High School.” Pro Era ended the show with “The Renaissance”. When I say Live, I mean everybody in the crowd had their hands up. It was great to see Boston embrace such a young and talented crew. It shows that no matter how old you are, all hip-hop fans can recognize and respect great hip-hop music.