Concert Review: Joey Bada$$

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By Wal Reid

Artist: Joey Bada$$

Date / Venue: Friday January 12th, 2018 - The Powerstation, Auckland

With a name like ‘BADA$$’ how could you not have a good time? This was the scene at Auckland’s Powerstation, American Rapper Joey Bada$$ brought the noise – and bring it he did, even admitting the energetic crowd was “wearing him out”.  

However those qualms were short-lived, whether it was on hit songs Waves or his smash hit Rockabye Baby with Schoolboy Q, the crowd hit every word and lyric, in sync with the Brooklyn native, who is still barely in his 20s.

If Rapper YG’s Fuck Donald Trump was the catch cry of disenfranchised Black Americans, then Rockabye Baby echoed that ethos, “And if you got the guts, scream “Fuck, Donald Trump”, reinforcing the same sentiment had concert goers flipping the bird in support. 

Peppered with cries of “Auckland, make some mutha-fucking noise” and recounting his experience bungee jumping off the side of the Sky Tower all were all good show fodder, his talking keep to a minimum but heart-felt was in a sincere appreciative tone, especially towards the crowd.

He’s been accused of being a ‘90s revivalist’ and a bit political - maybe so, but I didn’t find that at all listening to him tonight.  I love the way he taps into the old school psyche, the delivery and Rap vocal nuances reminiscing the artists of old like Chuck D from Public Enemy or Everlast from House of Pain but with a flavour of todays Hip-Hop artists like A$ap Ferg or Kendrick Lamar.

As the night gathered the sweltering warm air inside, it was ‘shirts off’ weather as the mosh-pit resembled a HellYeah or Pantera concert, with rock edged songs like No 99, Paper Trail$ & Pull Up whipping the crowd into a frenzy, mobile phones lighting up the floor.

Impressed with the audience’s ‘energy’ he gave a shout out to everyone in the room on For My People, thanking  every “individual for being here”, he also paid the obligatory homage to “All the Ladies in the house” as he pulled back the levels on radio singles Temptation and Christ Conscious before unleashing his biggest tune Devastated complete with cool visual stage effects.

Joey owned the stage, didn’t matter what he said or did it was the music on showcase, his bundling energy onstage with his DJ matched the lighting and sonics.  He gave a damn fine show and since he was here four years ago has become a force majeure in the Hip-Hop World. I guess having a cool-as performance name helps also?