I didn’t love Joey’s 1999 mixtape, but I felt good enough about it and his performance on other songs that I planned to try Summer Knights too. I’ve been playing it off and on for a few months, trying to figure out this attitude of meh that I couldn’t escape. One of the reasons for this deliberation is that, despite what my writings might imply, I don’t like being negative. But more importantly, I feel like there’s something here that I’m not understanding, and once I get it the “meh” will be replaced by a stronger feeling.
I decided not to do any year-end wrap-up stuff because a write-up for each album would be a lot of work (one reason most pubs do their year-end lists in early/mid December or wait until January) and because I haven’t listened to enough of what came out during 2013. Obvious albums like Killer Mike and El-P’s Run The Jewels are still waiting in my queue so it doesn’t feel at all right to try to sum up 2013. Not even calling it “my favorites” as opposed to “best” would solve the problem.
1999, Joey Bada$$’ debut mixtape, is a tribute to an era that ended too quickly for many hip-hop fans. How this guy, who was born in ’95, came to be one of those 90s fans is beyond me. Dude was 4 when the 90s ended! So, that 1999 turned out pretty alright shows that Joey must have spent much time studying the era that he just missed growing up in. So why, despite this earnestness, can my thoughts on 1999 can best be summed up by “meh”???
I appreciate Statik Selektah for being a new(er) generation Northeast producer/DJ who doggedly sticks to that region’s boom-bap sound. But that devotion means that variety isn’t what anyone should come looking for on Extended Play. Statik’s script gets old sometimes, especially when he gives his weaker beats to less talented emcees, but I’d still strongly recommend this release to anyone who cared. Just don’t think of it as an album. Statik is calling it that, but getting a barcode and going above and beyond the photocopier at Staples for album inserts doesn’t stop this from being a mixtape. It has the usual hit-or-miss song quality, and the vast majority of the songs have a straightforward structured where 2-3 rappers talk about nothing in particular, like all other mixtapes. Shoot, Amazon even has the digital version on sale for the long-standing traditional mixtape price of $5!