Having made a name for himself with a throwback style heavily influenced by '90s hip-hop, Joey Bada$$ surprised a lot of people with his latest single, "Devastated." Easily his most accessible, pop-leaning work to date, many were quick to fire off tweets claiming that the NYC emcee had "sold out." Dropping by The Breakfast Club this morning, Joey addressed those comments.
"That’s what everybody [is] saying: 'Joey sold out!'” he said. “When I made that song ‘Devastated’ I just had one mission in mind; I wasn’t even trying to make a hit song. I wanted to make an uplifting song. A lot of my catalog is really meditative, thought-provoking type of music, or real aggressive Rap-style stuff." He continued, "I said, ‘Yo, I’m gonna challenge myself today. I told my producer, ‘Yo, let’s make something uplifting. Speed the tempo up.’ They started [altering] the beat and the first thing that came to me was [the chorus], and the rest is history.”
Joey's sentiments of wanting to create uplifting music in a violent time became extra poignant when news came this afternoon that his cousin lost his life to gun violence early this morning.
As the interview progressed, he continued to explain a sentiment very familiar to many rappers who have attempted to break away from "underground" status and reach a wider audience.
I don’t just rap to be an underground rapper.
"Fans are very fickle and they just want to keep you for themselves," he said. "You just gotta be happy for your favorite artist. At the end of the day, artists all want to grow. They want to be heard. We don’t do this just so we can be heard by a little small community of people—at least not me. When I do something, I do it to the fullest capacity, the fullest potential. I want to be one of the greatest artists of all time."
Watch the full interview (in which he also gives interesting commentary on the lyrical state of hip-hop) above and see the video for "Devastated" below.