Show Recap: Joey Bada$$ Pushes NYC to the Progressive Era

Fresh off a European tour, Joey Bada$$ brought the Flatbush posse back to his home city last night (November 20). Playing to a packed crowd at S.O.B.’s, Joey and the Pro Era crew pounded out a high-energy show hosted by Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg.

It was a non-stop performance by Joey and Pro Era, complete with stage dives and repeated “Beast Coast” call and response with the audience. The young crowd ate up the hits from Joey Bada$$’s breakout mixtape 1999, and chanted right along with “Hardknock” and “Suspect.” Ab-Soul bounced onstage for a surprise appearance, performing his collaborative track with Joey called, “Enter the Void.” In signature Soulo style, the hook turns esoteric with lines, “stay on point, open your third eye, boy/keep your mouth shut and keep your motherfucking chakras open.”

In an interview with XXL after the show, Joey Bada$$ explained the personal experience that informs his own frequent mentions of the third eye and chakras: “There was a time about two years ago when I really started getting into deep meditation and stuff like that. There was times when I used to really sit and try to make myself meditate, and I got to a point where it just happens subconsciously. I meditate all the time, all the time.”

Perhaps all that meditation is why the 17-year-old MC seemed calm and confident beyond his years onstage. As the set progressed, more Pro Era affiliates joined him, including Capital Steez. Featured on 1999, Steez told XXL he is now working on a solo project called King Capital set to drop on May 2013. In an interview before the show, he said that “elevation” is the major theme of the upcoming album. “It’s on a whole ’nother level of thinking, you just gotta see things from my perspective.”

Look for the next chapter of the Pro Era evolution on December 21, the day their latest mixtape is set to drop. The Brooklyn MCs are confident about the project, as Joey told XXL, “The world is ending that day, that’s all I can say.” —Katie Moore