Joey Bada$$ has returned with his new three-track release, The Light Pack. The project is the first time we’ve heard from Joey Bada$$ in the form of an effort since 2017’s All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, and clearly it has been well-worth the wait.
The Light Pack is unique, and novel to the Bada$$ we have experienced in the past. While his flows are still tight, and his punchlines are still hard hitting, this 3-track bundle captures him as Joey, a spiritually keen artist who is vibrating at a new found frequency.
The project begins with “The Light,” which arrives with a music video by Kerby Jean-Raymond and Levi Turner. The clip documents Joey’s participation in a traditional Haitian Voodoo ceremony in Brooklyn before hitting the streets to participate in a protest. Dressed particularly in red, which I have interpreted to be a direct allusion to Chango, he reveals to us his strength, fervor, and passion as he raps:
“Unstoppable if it’s divinely guided. I’m like Mahatma Gandhi mixed Muhammad Ali. Trapped in a rapper’s body. Another old soul, in every lifetime you find me. My angels who surround me.”
In Santeria/Voodoo, Chango is one of the Orishas who is the owner of fire, lightening, thunder and war, but he is also the patron of music, drumming and dancing. Chango is a male deity and represents male beauty, virility, passion and power. This is exactly the version of Joey that we are experiencing as we stream this short EP.
Joey then dabbles into his affinity for Jazz by introducing a diffused instrumental on “No Explanation.” For this record, he plays with syncopation while still delivering pinpoint rhymes that are true to his hard-hitting style. This prepares us all for what is next to come. Pusha T tags in to deliver a verse that elevates the song to the a higher level as it feature production from Sean C & LV with Swizz Beatz
“Luminal flow, no traces. I am the blacklight, my whole career of crack right?” Pusha raps. “Olympic diving in this money, watch me jack-knife. My rap life ain’t like yours, I’m really going home to five stories and bright walls. Todd James paintings, he says he gots my one-of-ones waiting while y’all thinking James Evans, Jr. … Say less about your jewelers.”
Finally, we transition into the Roy Ayers-sampling closing track “Shine” produced by Statik Selektah, which serves to tie it all together.
“This is mumble rap extermination,” Bada$$ wrote on Twitter. “This is godly interpolation,” and we’ve heard it. It’s true.
The Light is Joey’s first project since he joined Columbia Records. He reports that he is also gearing up for his debut album on the label. Together with his new deal, Badass has been active in helping his community, donating $250,000 to homeless students impacted by COVID-19.
Stream Joey Bada$$’ new project, The Light Pack, below and watch his new video listed above.