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B4.DA.$$ | Joey Bada$$

Very rarely is the debut album of a rapper preceded with such a large amount of anticipation and excitement as Joey Bada$$’ B4.DA.$$. Joey Bada$$, who just celebrated his 20th birthday, has sparked a huge amount of buzz with his movement, Pro Era, and his 2012 mixtape , 1999 followed by Summer Knights in 2013. The positive critical reception of these mixtapes only grew and thrived on the fact that he was 18 and 19, respectively, when they were recorded and released. Joey’s clever wordplay, rhymes and entendres have been compared to the biggest names in hip-hop and rappers twice his age.

The album has been set up to win. How can B4.DA.$$ flop when the name of the album itself is a triple entendre? (Joey’s name, a description of the album and a stylized writing of “Before da money”) Just as unusual as the elevated expectations of this album, is the fact that it lives up to them. With production from the likes of Statik Selektah, Kirk Knight, DJ Premier, Hit-Boy and even J Dilla, it’s possible that even if Joey Bada$$ was spitting stupid and slow bars, the record would still sell. However, this is not the case. In fact Joey is at the top of his game here.

The style of B4.DA.$$ continues to maintain an old-school vibe to the beats, coinciding with new-school production value and of course Joey’s relevant and ever-complicated rhyme schemes. On “Big Dusty” he spits, “I guess my CD really shaking the coast, cause this really be the year that I feast, capice?” Other stand-out tracks are Christ Conscious, On & On and the nostalgic O.C.B. (Only Child Blues). As a January release, it seems that B4.DA.$$ is a signal the start to a great year for hip-hop – fingers crossed, we need it – and will be a hard record to top.

9.5/10

Track List:

  1. Save The Children
  2. Greenbax (Interlude)
  3. Paper Trail$
  4. Piece of Mind
  5. Big Dusty
  6. Hazeus View
  7. Like Me Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid
  8. Belly of the Beast feat. Chronixx
  9. No. 99
  10. Christ Conscious
  11. On & On Feat. Maverick Sabre & Dyemond Lewis
  12. Escape 120 Feat. Raury
  13. Black Beetles
  14. O.C.B.
  15. Curry Chicken

By Wright Franklin
KRUA Music Manager

Uncategorized

Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper | Panda Bear

Some things defy words. Noah Lennox, better known by his stage name Panda Bear, has made a career of creating sounds that do just that. A lot cheerier than his last release, Tomboy in 2011, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is nevertheless just what you would expect from Mr. Noah (which so happens to be the title of the lead single) – psychedelic, exploratory, wandering and beautiful. Each song creates a visual landscape. The rhythms and patterns are at times hard to follow, but they never lose their appeal.

The album opens with “Sequential Circuits,” a flowing and mystical track that sounds like a journey across a river. “Mr. Noah,” the first single off the album begins with a long, eerie, and mechanical intro that gives way to drums and the robotic lead synthesizer forming a brick wall with Lennox’s vocals bouncing, oozing and trickling off of it. “Crosswords” is a solid follow up, with a peppy beat utilizing lots of shakers and a subtle vocoder in the background. Other strong songs include the dizzying “Boys Latin” and the heartbreaking “Tropic of Cancer,” which features very personal lyrics about Lennox’s late father.

Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper provides a rich emotional spectrum. Though racks 7 through 10 do get a bit moody, the album ends on a happy note with the lush “Principe Real” and loud “Acid Wash.” Regardless of its share of melancholy moments, Panda Bear clearly made a deliberate effort to make a more fun record this time around. For fans and new listeners alike, Lennox did not disappoint with this one.

8/10

Track List:

  1. Sequential Circuits
  2. Mr. Noah
  3. Davy Jones’ Locker
  4. Crosswords
  5. Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker
  6. Boys Latin
  7. Come to Your Senses
  8. Tropic of Cancer
  9. Shadow of the Colossus
  10. Lonely Wanderer
  11. Principe Real
  12. Selfish Gene
  13. Acid Wash

By Wright Franklin
KRUA Music Manager