Yesterday Joey Bada$$ took it low-key in a special performance for BBC Radio 1's Piano Sessions. The series, hosted by DJ Huw Stephens, usually has artists perform cover versions or pared-down renditions of their own tracks – so Joey Bada$$ did both.
Accompanied on the piano by rising UK rapper Dave – who himself makes music about the political issues that affect him, rendering them a great pairing – Bada$$ performed his track "Babylon," as well as a mash-up of "Amerikkkan" with JAY-Z's "Dead Presidents." The two songs work together pretty well, though the ease with which they meet does certainly serve as a reminder that too little has changed for young black men in the US in the eleven years between them. A somber but driving mood seems to carry Bada$$ along, his voice raising when he begins the section of the song that deals directly with institutional racism. It makes for an extremely engaging performance, and one that only this piano-driven format – which has also recently attracted Kelela – could produce.
Hear both tracks below:
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