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Joey Bada$$ – ‘Summer Knights’ Mixtape Review

On the start of Summer Knights, Joey Bada$$ lets us know he’s the “reigning champ, hailing from Flatbush, Brooklyn…” This grandiose, yet soulful introduction leads you to believe that there will be similarities from his highly regarded project, 2012’s 1999. As it plays through, Summer Knights is completely different. He takes you to basement nostalgia because the tone and vibe are much darker. He’s not here to joke around. He’s here to spit.

The 2013 XXL Freshmen’s omnipresent confidence is in full swing here, as seen in lyrical gems “Satellite,” and “Amethyst Rockstar.” He exuberates mannerisms of BK on cypher-like songs, 47 Goonz” & “Sorry Bonita,” where the essence of old-school MC-ing is brought to life. He came to be loved for his lyricism and he gave us exactly that going bar after bar. At the same time, he has an ability to balance a hard-hitting MC, while packaging in songs made to cruise to.

Just like 1999, there are remnants of ‘90s chill-vibe. The Navie D.-produced “Sweet Dreams” and the Chuck Strangers-produced tracks—“Reign” and “My Yout”—are perfect examples containing strong reggae influences. The tape’s standout is the Lee Bannon-produced “95 Til’ Infinity,” where Joey flows with this hard, DMX-like flow over a soulful sample where he lets you know why he thinks he’s the best. “Cause they will never stop for a young Black male/ Black mailed in braille that means what he felt,” he raps with bravado.

“#LongLiveSteelo” is the STEEZ homage track that many had been waiting for. Rarely addressing the issue in public, Joey reveals to the public as much as he can without getting too personal. All over these emotion-evoking strings, he explains a lot without saying much, “Why did you have to go? It hurt me inside/ I feel guilty walking around with false pride.”

1999 was Joey’s “coming-of-age” project. He was simply a high school kid in Brooklyn and was making the youthful, relaxed music that any 17-year-old would. Only one year later, a combination of the gleaming success that he has been experiencing since its release, to which he says, “King me like James, straight out of high school” in “Reign”, and Capital STEEZ’s death this past December, we are seeing a different Joey. Summer Knights is for the hip-hip heads and less for the kids that are Joey’s usual teenaged fanbase. But now with new life experiences, Joey is here to prove that they’re one in the same.—Abrea Armstrong (@abreaknowsbest)

  • Dafukbrah

    Lmao Joey called XXL dickheads for posting this two days after the release

    • AmbivalentLife

      Rather have a reviewer take his time with a project than shit out a review to keep up with demand.

      • xxl

        so did you guys like the review?

        • AmbivalentLife

          Yeah, it was pretty much in line with my thoughts about the album. I hope we get even more variety from Joey once B4.da.$$ finally comes out.

    • GoldenEra90

      I think he was referring to all the blog’s that have already put a review out, didn’t specify any names.

    • GoldenEra90

      I think he was referring to all the blog’s that have already put a review out, didn’t specify any names.

  • annoyed, again.

    I love Joey, but how the fuck did this mixtape get a better review than Born Sinner?! This mixtape didnt even come close to how good 1999 was. XXL you WERE my favorite magazine, but these bogus reviews are starting to piss me off.

    • Rigby

      Dude that is old news, let it go. It’s not even relevant anymore.

    • m

      dude, music is so subjective, everyone feels differently about mixtapes or songs, calm down

  • Michael

    Stop bringing Born Sinner into comparison for every fucken album! It was an average album at most! Calm tf down!

    • Nugs

      haha yeah, its was average, even below average imo, but some fans just love to love anything released by their favorite mc, even when its not that good.

  • physiks_VA

    you can predict your ratings at xxl. yall need xs (extra small) .q

  • Lebron

    I love Joey’s lyricism and everything but his music is just straight up boring to me.

  • “+”

    Honestly, every review that I’ve seen has comments about “Born Sinner”. About why does it have an “L”? Or “How it’s better than other albums” It’s just an album that was better than Sideline Story. That’s it. Just leave it at that. XXL don’t give 2 shits about the comments or about our opinions.

  • Double-Axe Digital Recordings

    Weak review…tells you little about the album…fluff.