Joey Bada$$ doesn’t just like JAY-Z’s 4:44—the Pro Era MC also believes he inspired its creation. In a new interview, the Brooklyn spitter shared why he loves the album and how he feels he motivated Hov.
“I was in Bed Stuy listening to that whole shit, and I was just like, ‘Yes! It sounds just like the neighborhood,'” Bada$$ told Montreality. “I was riding through the neighborhood like, ‘This is the fuckin’ soundtrack right now.’ I didn’t feel that way about [Magna Carta…Holy Grail] so I was glad that this was definitely him just getting on that, ‘Fuck what everybody else is doing. I’m doing this. Me and No I.D. are going in. I’m ’bout to talk my shit.’
“Honestly, I feel like I was an inspiration to that album,” he continued. “Honestly, I know I was an inspiration to that album. There’s nothing nobody could tell me. I put certain pressure on these OGs in the rap game. They know what they gotta talk about now, because they got this young ni**a Joey Bada$$ coming out, talking about this shit before they got a chance to talk about it. It is what it is, but I love the album. It’s great. I’m glad he spoke about everything he spoke on and I’m glad I could be inspirational.”
The All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, who is currently on Logic’s “Everybody’s Tour,” has also been inspired by other MCs. According to him, a major inspiration came from his interactions with Top Dawg Entertainment’s Black Hippy crew when he was 16 years old. “To meet them at that early age was super motivation,” he said. “It just made me go hard like, ‘Damn! I already met some of my favorite rappers within a year of me doing this shit so I’m just gonna go harder.’
“With Soulo, that’s my brother,” he added. “He got [Pro Era’s] 47 [logo] tatted. That’s brother for life. Shoutout to Dough Burger, too. Me and Kendrick, we don’t talk too much. We never got a chance to really build, but I already know we right here with it. Timing is everything with me. I just let the universe take its course. When that’s supposed to happen, that’s gonna happen.”
Despite the fact that they haven’t had a “chance to really build,” Joey praised K-Dot. “I feel like Kendrick represents authenticity, real rap, real artists, real artistry, poetry, there’s a long list of the great things he represents,” he said. “I appreciate him for being here, for being a part of this rap game, a part of hip-hop history because shit, before we had him, we was really in a critical condition.”
He went on to name To Pimp a Butterfly his favorite K-Dot album, and praised its musicality, but he also added a “Control”-like caveat for all of his Kung Fu Kenny love. “I’m one of the best rappers now, myself,” he said. “So it’s competition.”