Photography By: Coco Alexander

Joey Bada$$ has been traveling around the world and offering fans a list of complex rhymes for a minute now, and he still feels like he doesn't get the recognition he deserves. But he doesn’t plan for it to stay that way. With his highly anticipated debut album “B4.DA.$$ (Before The Money)” set for the Fall, he wants to make sure everyone's heard his name.

“They can definitely expect to get to know me a little bit more,” says Joey during the WAT-AAH! pop-up concert in SOHO last week. He explains that much of his previous music has been “mainly ill rhyming,” but with the album he wants to offer something more.

“This time around I’m going to get more in-depth; like you know me, you know what my story is, where I come from, who I am.”

He says that his expectations for the album are similar to how he felt when he got the chance to work with the legendary producer DJ Premier. This opportunity was a defining moment in his life that allowed him to channel the energy of some of his favorite rappers.

“Just going to the studio, being in the same booth that like Nas spit Illmatic, Jay spit Reasonable Doubt, Big L spit Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, all that. It was just amazing and I felt all of that energy just being in that room so I know that whatever I was spitting had to be fire.”

Though he admires these celebrated New York rappers, no one has inspired him as much as former Pro Era rapper and friend Capital STEEZ.

“My brother STEEZ, rest in peace, he influenced me the most because I actually grew up with this man, you know?" he said. "Like we were together every day. You know like this is my ace, my right hand man.”

Despite being only 19, Joey is wise beyond his years. The “Unorthodox” rapper has managed to maneuver around the music business in the fashion of someone who has spent years in the game. It might be due to his philosophy.

“It’s a couple quotes that I’m really fond of. There’s one by this guy named Sri Chinmoy Ghose and what he said is, ‘When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.’ And then there’s another one by Abraham Lincoln and he said, ‘Don’t worry when you’re not recognized but just make sure you’re worthy of recognition.’"

In the future he wants to work with Q-Tip, but for now, he’s just waiting for the right moment.

“I’m not the type of guy to be like on everybody’s neck," he said. "I like for moments to just shift into place. You feel me? I’m not like a, 'Yo, let’s force this shit!’ Naw, I’ma wait until it's right, until you see me and I see you and you know it's right, then that’s when we gonna work. That’s how I like to do it.” —Chris M. Garner