Joey Bada$$ disciples doubt one thing: the dignity of his stage name. Luckily for Joey, there are bigger fish to fry.

Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA

B+
“Underground Airplay”
Cinematic Music Group


Besides, nobody’s writing home about the undeniable dopeness of his contemporaries’ stage names, like A$AP Rocky and Chief Keef. In brief, Joey’s disciples share heavy confidence in the silver-tongued, rhyme-crafting, potential-oozing phenom who only recently got his driver’s license. In his new music video “Underground Airplay” with Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA, he continues to paint eloquence, and his palette’s gray and black.

The art direction serves the missing fourth artist role: Monochrome black-and-white creates a no-bullshit ambience, as the hoodied punks nod and palm-wave in a subterranean metro station. Tonight’s special: vintage boom-bap. Yes, that Gang Starr shit. An unfocused camera focus cannot make up its mind, panning across graffiti-drenched concrete and dripping spray cans.

By the final fadeout, nothing has really happened: Three gabbers gab, while non-black boys spectate with faux nodding-comprehension. Nobody’s griping, though.

An over-the-top music video would’ve felt incongruous with these rappers. That said, the vintage boom-bap foundation guarantees headshakes. No wonder iconic DJ Premier produced Joey’s recent “Unorthodox.”

Joey Bada$$ does own a questionable stage name. He’s also unquestionably a force to be reckoned with whose number of years on earth means nothing.

He drops mid-video, “J-Boog is back.” Don’t worry, Joey. You never left.

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