Album Review: 2000 by Joey Bada$$
by Spencer Yu, Contributor
Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$ (Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott) is an artist that has been around for quite some time now. Starting with his debut mixtape 1999 which released in 2012, he has always been an artist that has been more inspired by the classic golden era of hip hop rather than its contemporary trends. His sound is very much in line with the classic east coast sound of the 90s. Though Scott may not have been able to measure up to some of his classic east coast heroes such as Nas and Jay Z, he has proven himself to be a competent rapper with his latest release 2000 a follow up in name alone to his breakout mixtape.
The dedication to the classic east coast sound is incredibly obvious with jazz and R&B samples sprinkled throughout with the hard hitting kick and snare combo that defines the “boom bap” sound. Listening to this album really is like looking back to that golden era of hip hop that Scott as well as many music fans remember so fondly. It’s a timeless sound that presents itself very well due to many talented producers working on the album including Kirk Knight, Statik Selectah, Mike Will Made It, and many more.
Scott’s rapping is as strong as it has ever been and due to the fact that he has been rapping on these types of instrumentals for so long now he sounds incredibly natural on these beats. The confidence and bravado he has had throughout his career is on full display here and stronger than ever. He raps on a variety of subjects including the success he has found himself in during his rap career and the people that he has encountered during his time as a rapper. The hardest hitting subject that he raps about on this album however are the loss of some of his colleagues in the music industry as well as his personal life. This includes people like his cousin Junior B, Rapper XXX Tentacion, and fellow Pro Era member and personal friend Capital Steez (Courtney Jamal Dewar, Jr) who committed suicide shortly after the release of Scott’s breakout album 1999. Scott opens up on the passing of his colleague with lines such as: “ You see, the truth about Steelo (Dewar), he lacked mental health. But try to tell that to people way back in 2012”. It would seem that not only is he willing to discuss the topic about his colleagues passing but also the topic of mental health as well.
The one complaint I have with this album is that I found that the mellow tone and flow of the album stagnated and I wanted some more aggressive tracks in line with things that he has done in the past such as the track “Survival Tactics” off of his 2012 mixtape 1999 or “Christ Conscious” off his 2015 album B4.DA.$$. Not to say his choice to be more mellow is in any way bad however I wish there was just a little more variety in terms of how the album sounded. If this album was a little shorter this would be less of an issue however given the albums length of almost an hour, the album maintaining a similar flow gets a little boring. For that reason alone I don’t feel that this is an album that I will listen to front to back often if at all.
The album has some notable features as well such as JID, Westside Gunn, Diddy, Larry June, and Capella Gray. For the most part all of the features perform admirably however I noticed that the mixing on the track “Wanna Be Loved” featuring JID was done in such a way that it clashed with his verse. It could be due to the setup that I was listening to it on, however it was something that I noticed. The album also features controversial R&B artist Chris Brown on the track: “Welcome Back”. In a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything thread, Scott has faced some backlash over his choice of featuring Brown on his album with fans citing his previous actions as being inexcusable and with Scott seemingly ignoring Brown’s past stating: “Which one of you guys are perfect?” I personally do not agree with any of Brown’s behavior and previous actions however I will note that his performance on this album was adequate.
2000 is a solid addition to Joey Bada$$’s discography with very good production and solid rapping on his part. I personally feel that it isn’t as strong as some of his previous projects. Perhaps there could have been a little more variation in terms of the feel of the album but overall it is a solid listen and one that I would recommend.