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This is what real rap looks and sounds like. It seems like everyone has their own lane in the hip-hop scene nowadays, and one can’t blame the genre for evolving; but it must be said that very few rappers kick it as well, and as old school, as a certain silky smooth 22-year-old from Brooklyn – Joey Bada$$. In some ways, his name belies his lyrical content and delivery, one which fans both old and new might describe as pointed and profound – he’s never been one to shy away from taking political stands.

Joey’s flow on “Land of the Free” is unbelievable, but in both the song and the music video, it’s the imagery and storytelling that is most captivating. “And the land of the free is full of free loaders; leave us dead in the street to be your organ donors; they disorganized my people, made us all loners; still got the last names of our slave owners…” raps Joey, as the video depicts scenes of white-on-black oppression, incarceration, and police violence. In perhaps the strongest line of the song, he proclaims, “full house on my hands, the cards I was dealt; three K’s, Two A’s in AmeriKKKa,” forming a brilliant poker – three Kings, two Aces, or a full house – and politics-based double entendre.

In a time of mumble rap and autotune, and of videos incessantly filled with the same stale, often insensitive ingredients – women, drugs, cars, money, you get the picture – it’s refreshing to hear more work that’s so immaculately crafted, smoothly delivered, and lyrically powerful.

“Land of the Free” is a single from Joey’s forthcoming second studio album, the highly anticipated 12-track project  All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$, which is set to release on April 7, and will feature the likes of Schoolboy Q and J. Cole.

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