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Joey Bada$$ gets unorthodox with HipHopCanada in Calgary [Interview]

Calgary, AB – After an unfortunate Calgary show cancellation earlier this year, Joey Bada$$ took a rain check and hit us back with the goods. Our friends over at True Rhythm booked Joey for two shows on Sept. 12: one for the 18-plus crowd, as well as an all-ages gig. And Joey raised the stakes by bringing Statik Selektah and the Pro Era crew with him. The Bada$$ posse arrived in the city on Wednesday afternoon. Only a few days beforehand, Joey performed at Rock the Bells. Pro Era hadn’t slept in days. But after checking into their hotel, the guys hit up 17th Avenue for some sponsored shopping at Calgary’s Le Rock street-wear store.

Seemingly, one of the best perks about being a rapper-on-the-rise is the sponsorships (aka: free swag). But Joey is practical by nature. He left the shop empty-handed. Admittedly, he didn’t want to add excess baggage to his luggage. Regardless, Pro Era perused the shop while incense was lit and chronic started to burn. HipHopCanada sat down with Joey for a tag team chop-up about his badass status, his mom’s birthday, and more. He also set things straight about his “Killuminati Pt. 2” track. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t a response to Kendrick Lamar.

Joey Bada$$ gets unorthodox with HipHopCanada [Interview] -HipHopCanada

“It’s just a song. And by the time a lot of people got to hear it, they seen it as a Kendrick Lamar response before they got to see it as a song.” -Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$: Q&A

Interview conducted by Sarosh Rizvi and Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada

Sarah Sussman: Welcome to Calgary.

Joey Bada$$: What a gwan, Calgary? Thanks for the welcoming. I like Canada a lot, yo. They show a lot of love every time I come here.

Sarah Sussman: You’re actually legal in Canada. You can go to the bars here.

Joey Bada$$: I can, actually. I’m pretty much legal back home, too. But nah— it’s pretty cool to do it all legally, and stuff. I just might have a drink. Since it’s all legal, and shit.

Sarosh Rizvi: I wanted to ask you about Summer Knights. It came out in a month of monster releases. Was that planned, on your part? Did you want it to come out with Jay’s album and Kanye’s album?

Joey Bada$$: It’s been such an exciting time in hip-hop. The summer just kicking off; that had a lot to do with it. It’d been a whole year since I dropped any new material. I definitely seized the moment. I mean, it’s called Summer Knights.

Sarah Sussman: So I wanted to ask you about your recent response to Kendrick Lamar.

Joey Bada$$: What response to Kendrick Lamar?

Sarah Sussman: “Killuminati Pt. 2”?

Joey Bada$$ gets unorthodox with HipHopCanada [Interview] -HipHopCanada

Joey Bada$$: That was just a song, man. What really got me mad is that I put it up. It’s just a song. And by the time a lot of people got to hear it, they seen it as a Kendrick Lamar response before they got to see it as a song. The whole thing is that it’s a song before it’s one of those mediocre responses.

Sarosh Rizvi: The big thing with the “Control” verses and when Kendrick said he was the king of New York — does that matter, the way it did?

Joey Bada$$: It mattered way more, back in the day. That’s where “Killuminati Pt. 2” came from—just the spark off of that. That can’t rock. Just on some real hip-hop shit. It don’t rock like that.

Sarah Sussman: So with a name like Joey Bada$$—I know you changed it for PR reasons— are you actually as much of a badass as your stage name implies?

Joey Bada$$: You just got to see for yourself. I can’t just tell you I’m a badass. I’m already kind of telling you I am a badass.

Sarah Sussman: What’s the most badass thing you’ve done today?

Joey Bada$$: I’ve done a lot of wild things. But today, I wouldn’t say wild, but it was pretty funny. I was walking through the security shit. And then the security [asked] me what was in my pocket. And I was like… [reaches into his pocket and pretends to pull out a bud of herb]

Sarah Sussman: You showed them the chronic? What’d they say?

Joey Bada$$: [laughs] They was like, “Oh, okay. You’re good. [laughs] “You’re such a badass.”

Sarosh Rizvi: Just don’t go doing anything that gets you kicked out of the country, though.

Joey Bada$$ gets unorthodox with HipHopCanada [Interview] -HipHopCanada

Joey Bada$$: Yeah. I know, I know.

Sarah Sussman: [The border patrol] just didn’t let Danny Brown in, the other day.

Joey Bada$$: They don’t like us rappers, you know.

Sarosh Rizvi: So what’s up next for you?

Joey Bada$$: I’m working on the album right now. We’re also working on the Pro Era album. And a lot of P.E. members are working on their solo tapes, too.

Sarah Sussman: You’ve come to fame because of the work you’ve done on mixtapes. And now you’re actually choosing to put out an album. How does your work ethic change between putting out a mixtape and actually releasing an album?

Joey Bada$$: The whole mixtape stages it being like my beginning, my middle, [and] my start. It’s just being me. Just expressing myself. Experimenting. Most of all, finding myself. The album, now, is basically based off of my mixtapes—I have who I am. And then the album is just going to be like what it is.

Sarosh Rizvi: Are you noticing any restrictions, at all, when dealing with an album?

Joey Bada$$: [It’s] pretty much the same formula. I’m not just going to settle for one producer. [It’s] pretty much what I have already been doing. But the whole structure of it is going to be way more solid, compared to my mixtapes (which would be loose). [My mixtapes] could be here. Or it could be there. [The album is] going to be way more structured and solid.

[the Pro Era boys hold up a big white piece of paper with “The Smokers Club” written on it]

Sarah Sussman: So it looks like your boys want us to talk a bit about The Smokers Club and your upcoming tour.

Joey Bada$$: The Smokers Club Tour. That starts in October. Nationwide. We coming to Canada. Me, Ab-Soul, Underachievers, Chevy Woods, Pro Era. And more.

Joey Bada$$ gets unorthodox with HipHopCanada [Interview] -HipHopCanada

Sarah Sussman: Since you’re doing all of these tours, do you ever get homesick?

Joey Bada$$: Yeah. But I’m now finally coming to a point where it’s just like: aight. It’s what I do now. So I pretty much just got to get over it, and just keep going.

Sarah Sussman: But you just celebrated your mom’s birthday with her. What’d you guys do?

Joey Bada$$: I was supposed to fly out the morning of her birthday, because I had Rock The Bells the next day. But I pushed my flight back, just so I could chill with my mom. Get some food, and things like that. Just talk. And then she drove me to the airport.

Sarah Sussman: And what’d you get her for her birthday?

Joey Bada$$: I actually didn’t have any time to get her anything this year, but…

Sarah Sussman: That’s not good. You never do that to a lady.

Joey Bada$$: No, you don’t. But my mom knows—my mom already knows that I got her. It’s not a problem.

Sarah Sussman: Give her a copy of the album when it comes out.

Joey Bada$$ gets unorthodox with HipHopCanada [Interview] -HipHopCanada

Joey Bada$$: She’s already got all of the tapes and everything. My mom knows.

Sarah Sussman: So any last words for the HipHopCanada community?

Joey Bada$$: Summer Knights. 1999. Get those mixtapes. P.E.E.P: The aPROcalypse. We out here, Calgary. Alibi Room is going to be turned up tomorrow. So if you’re not there, then you’re pretty square.

Interview conducted by Sarosh Rizvi and Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada

Twitter: @joeyBADASS_ | @TheFckingEra

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is HipHopCanada's Associate Editor in Chief. Sarah is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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