Photography By: Owen Rogers
Joey Bada$$ and Smoke DZA headlined the 7th annual CMJ takeover, Thursday night at the Highline Ballroom. Doors for the the event opened at 11 PM, but many fans did not arrive until well after midnight, as the line outside the venue continued to grow throughout the evening. The late night event was designed to appeal to fans of true hip-hop, and featured many acts who are deeply influenced by earlier periods of the genre. Chicago native SD took the stage and infused the audience with energy through his signature Chi-raq sound. Dreamville's newest member Cozz took the stage next accompanied by Chase N. Cashe. Despite audio difficulties with his DJ early on, Cozz was able to finish strong and win over the crowd, who was largely unfamiliar with him.
The Kushed God, Smoke DZA came on next, and almost immediately the room filled with smoke. At one point, DZA was kind enough to throw the joint that he was smoking into the crowd, after people asked him to share his weed. Combining a love for marijuana, with his trademark sound, and sincere love for New York, DZA was able to perfectly set the stage for Joey.
The performance marked the return to the very same stage for Joey and Pro Era, where they had their first show together three years ago. A lot has changed in that time as Bada$$ now performs with the confidence of a veteran who has been on several national tours. With Statik Selektah on the 1s and 2s, the set started off with "95 Til Infinity," allowing Joey to make sure that the audience felt his presence early, before taking a backseat, and letting each of the members of Pro Era to share the spotlight. Periodically joining them for songs and occasionally performing his own track, Joey skillfully ensured that the audience got a healthy amount of both him and Pro Era.
Click through our photo recap from last night's show above.—Owen Rogers