Joey Bada$$ - 'B4.DA.$$'

8/10

Despite being a household name in the rap scene thanks to numerous mixtape and collaborative efforts over the last few years, New York MC Joey Bada$$ finally delivers his debut album with his own collection of featured artists. Kiesza, Raury, Maverick Sabre, Chronixx and many more have joined the rapper for his first full-length, which seems to cast away the materialistic attitude of other rap albums and shines a harsh light on the preconceptions of what growing up in America is like for a young black man.

With an album packed full of critical lyrics of the stateside attitude to money, wealth and image coming under fire, Joey Bada$$ has used this opportunity to give a real insight into what life has been like for him and other's like him. 'Paper Trails', with its alternate Wu Tang homage "cash ruins everything around me", is a perfect example of how the MC has seen money stagnate and regress personal ambitions, while 'Piece Of Mind' is an outpouring of his own experiences and feelings of not belonging in this modern world. Typically it is a autobiographical album from any 20-year-old artist, but his own talent is what gives it that mature edge that keeps you interested and intrigued by what he says.

While it may not have the most diverse production on it, Bada$$ knows that it is not the beats that matter but what he has to say. It is probably one of the most raw and authentic rap albums we have heard in years, and given his growing profile, could become one of the year's must-hear records.

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