Joey Bada$$ says his mom “played everything from Betty Wright to Prince to Biggie to Jay.”
“My whole mission with the whole project was to introduce people to this mindset,” the 20-year old rapper said of his new release. “That mindset is the B4.Da.$$ mindset. It still exists now but it started in a time of my life where I realized the things that I wanted to do with my life. It’s this drive that you shift into. Before you obtain that thing or that place that you wanna be at or what you wanna do, that initial drive…that’s the B4.Da.$$ mindset.”
Explaining how growing up in New York City offered him a uniquely diverse exposure to music, Joey Bada$$ credited his mother with introducing him to artists he now counts as influences.
“My upbringing, my mom is pretty much responsible for the music I started getting into,” he said. “She played everything from Betty Wright to Prince to Biggie to Jay to a whole bunch of ’90s Reggae. All of that. That mix right there just had me on some whole other shit. I pretty much grew up and when I got to high-school I discovered MF Doom for the first time. I started to get into the underground rap. All of that mixed up and I eventually became myself.”
When asked about whether or not comparisons to New York artists of yesteryear has affected his outlook, Bada$$ admitted to trying to steer clear of certain influences.
“It drives me to not sound like that,” he said. “It drives me to be myself. The comparisons are great, it’s an honor to be compared to somebody like Nas and Illmatic, that’s an immense body of work. My main thing is always being myself and sounding like myself. I don’t want to sound like anyone. I want people to be like, ‘Yo, you sound like Joey.’ And there is some cats that sound like Joey.”