After surfacing as one of the leading voices of the “New New York” back in 2011, Pro Era frontman and heavyweight spitter Joey Bada$$ released his highly anticipated debut album B4.DA.$$ and celebrated his 20th birthday all within the same day. And what better way to commemorate the budding success than with a party in his hometown borough of Brooklyn, New York.

“This feels like the club in 1993,” said Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg as he owned the stage at Verboten last night alongside Funkmaster Flex and DJ Red Alert. He wasn't too far off either, as Joey Bada$$’ birthday and album release party opened with classic hip-hop throwbacks and 1990s jams that had the crowd in full vibes on a journey to Brooklyn with Biggie, to Queens with Mobb Deep and uptown with Dipset as DJ Red Alert and Funk Flex mixed through hit after hit to honor the roots and classic feel of the New York rap scene.

Despite his nostalgic, definitive musical aesthetic, Joey Bada$$ is one of the leading voices of hip-hop's younger generation, and he exemplified just that as he took the stage alongside his Progressive Era brethren Kirk Knight and longtime DJ Statik Selektah. With attendees including Lil Mama, Atlanta’s Raury, A$AP Twelvyy and more, the atmosphere was just right for Joey to flow through familiar cuts from his acclaimed debut mixtape 1999 including “Survival Tactics.” Moshpits started and hands were in the air, but somehow fans seemed to revel in the performance collectively as a family. The positive energy just seemed to float even further as Joey held a moment of silence for both lost Pro Era signee Capital STEEZ and A$AP Yams before the close of the night.

Despite his young age, Joey comes off as wise far beyond his years. While most artists within his age bracket can barely hold a mic, Joey effortlessly compelled an audience of hundreds with his intellectual yet witty bars and lively, bouncing performance. At just the tender age of 20, Joey Bada$$ has accomplished in his career what most people will never experience in a lifetime, and that says more than enough about the vanguard lyricist of the “New New York.” —Asia Burris

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