Joey Bada$$ is officially back on the scene, as announced via Twitter earlier this week. With the release of his video for “Land of the Free” which will be the fourth track on the upcoming EP, conscious hip-hop lovers everywhere should be sparking up, increasing chakras, and flocking to Amazon to purchase their Basquiat hoodies. The New York rapper’s new project, titled All Amerikkkan Bada$$, is set to drop April 7 boasting features from the J. Cole, Schoolboy and Styles P.
Fans were treated by King Bada$$ himself when he shared the video for “Land of the Free” last week. Not only does the production mirror Joey’s (I’ve decided we’re now on a first name basis) signature smooth instrumentals with some 70s funk undertones, but the lyrics and video are equally impressive.
The track was released January 19, fittingly before the 45th Presidential Inauguration of You Know Who. Common themes touching on politics and oppression that listeners have been exposed to from the rapper’s previous projects are present in “Land of the Free.” The hook opens with powerful words, preparing listeners for the following verses.
Can’t change the world unless we change ourselves
Die from the sicknesses if we don’t seek the health
All eyes be my witness when I speak what’s felt
Full house on my hands, the cards I was dealt
Three K’s, Two A’s in AmeriKKKa
In the video the rapper is seen standing chained to eight individuals at his side in the middle of a desert. Next, Joey Bada$$ is surrounded by kids as he raps the first few lines of the song, adding a touch of humanity to a troubling song depicting this country’s current state. The video continues to what can be considered its most powerful scene showing the eight individuals in chains standing directly across from armed officers. As shots are fired and the chained men and woman drop one by one, the remaining men still standing have fearful expressions as if they’re saying “I’m next.”
Themes of racism in the U.S. are further shown by including the rapper hanging from a tree and men in white hoods admiring a burning cross who later take off those hoods and put on police officer hats. The video closes with rain drenching the shooting victims (seen previously) and the police officers watching a burning cross. Joey is then seen with eight children in all white running around a tree following the storm, most likely signifying a new beginning.
Needless to say, before watching the video the song was already a hit. Joey Bada$$ (maybe I’ll start referring to him as Sir Bada$$) is literally what hip-hop lovers and the Black culture needs right now. This rapper continues to boldly confront crucial issues while most of hip-hop focuses on played out strip clubs and molly. In “Land of the Free” Joey Bada$$ gets his message across in a way that is beautiful across the board.