Joey Bada$$ is from Brooklyn and wants his music to reflect the vibe of New York’s streets. “Just being from here, just walking these streets everyday, it’s just a type of aura and essence that you feel,” Joey Bada$$ says during an interview with The Combat Jack Show. “And then, just going back and listening to albums like [Jay-Z’s] Reasonable Doubt, Smif-N-Wessun’s shit, Nas Illmatic, [A] Tribe [Called Quest], all that shit, you actually feel the same vibes in the music in these streets. At least I do. So I took all of that in.” 

Even though he says he declined an opportunity to sign with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint, Joey Bada$$ has been soaking up game and learning from Jay-Z and Tribe’s Q-Tip, among others, as he continues his independent grind. He’s released the acclaimed 1999 and Rejex mixtapes in 2012 and is gearing up for the release of his debut studio album, B4.Da.$$

Joey Bada$$ got his start when he was in ninth grade and posted a video of him freestyling on YouTube, with hopes that it would get posted on WorldstarHipHop. “Just maybe I could rap in front of a camera and just maybe it would be good enough and just maybe it will get on Worldstar and just maybe somebody will discover me from that,” the 18-year-old rapper says during the interview. “And that’s exactly what happened.” 

The clip drew the attention of manager Jonny Shipes, who also represented Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA. Joey Bada$$ and his The Pro Era crew soon signed with Shipes. 

Today, Joey Bada$$ marvels at the power of the Internet and how it launched his career. “I got on through the Internet and people from all around the world knew about me before people in my neighborhood did,” he says.

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