Keeping America woke with “ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$”


Ali Benzerara

Follow hip hop culture with Ali Benzerara.

Ali Benzerara, Sports Editor

The hip-hop community was disappointed when Kendrick Lamar announced he pushed back the April 7 release date for his fourth studio album to later this month.

However, Joey Bada$$ stepped in to fill the void with his latest album “ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$,” released April 7. With this new album and the prior release of “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service” by A Tribe Called Quest in November of 2016, ‘woke,’ or conscious rap has come back into the mainstream with full force.

When gangsta rap hit the hip-hop community in the early ‘80s, white America was surprised by the lyrics and raw material being produced in urban ghettos. Since then—aside from a few artist and groups through the decades—a lot of mainstream rap and hip-hop has been feel good music with bumping bass and glamorous lyrics, lacking the revolutionary impact it once had.

With the 2016 presidential election, many Americans, especially the millennial generation, became ‘woke’. This word, derived from African American vernacular, has worked its way into the mainstream lately, used to describe political, social and racial oppression throughout the United States as well as a global aspect.

Arguably one of the most slept-on rappers in 2016 was Joey Bada$$. If you’ve seen his five fingers of death on Sway in the Morning, then you know what I mean; if not, get on YouTube and watch it. However, “ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$” cannot be ignored.

The first song, “GOOD MORNING AMERIKKKA,” sets the tone for the whole album as he talks about the definition of freedom, police brutality and the social injustices that African-Americans face everyday.

One motif represented throughout the album is they way Joey Bada$$ spells and even raps America. A few of his songs as well as the album title spells America “Amerikkka”. In his song “LAND OF THE FREE” the chorus goes: “Three A’s, two K’s in Amerikkka/ Just a black spade born out the nebula.”

I’m sure we can all guess what the underrated artist might be hinting at. And if you’re still not entirely sure, check out the music video for “LAND OF THE FREE” and you will surely be able to figure it out.

All 12 songs on the album have incorporated a ‘woke’ message, however; some really stand out in their message as the lyrics call out Donald Trump, Fox News, the U.S. government, the American Dream, white privilege and white America, just to name a few.

Five of the most revolutionary songs on this album include: “SUPER PREDATOR,” RING THE ALARM,” “LAND OF THE FREE,” “BABYLON” and “FOR MY PEOPLE.”

Some notable feature artists on the album include Schoolboy Q, Style P and J. Cole, among others.

This is an album that will go down in history as a window into America during these awry and unjust times.  But the biggest message incorporated in “ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$,” is to stay ‘woke’ and use your voice as a tool for revolution during these times in Amerikkka.