Toppa Top ’15: Fifteen Artists to Watch In 2015

15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 +1
January 20, 2015

1. Jozif Badmon

If you follow hip-hop, you’ve already known all about Joey Bada$$ for a while now. The 20-year-old Brooklyn rapper has been on a steady climb since he and his Pro Era crew crash landed on rap blogs in 2012 with a sound straight out of the mid ’90s (the same era in which they were born), culminating in the release of Joey’s much-anticipated debut album B4Da$$ today.

We’re here to tell you about Jozif Badmon, though. That’s the name Joey, whose mother and father are St. Lucian and Jamaican, has taken to calling himself (on Instagram, and in song lyrics) since dropping the reggae-inflected “My Yout” on his 2013 mixtape Summer Knights (and subsequently shooting the video in St. Lucia). Among other things, B4Da$$ fleshes out the Badmon persona, placing him in the tradition of Special Ed, Busta Rhymes and Biggie—Brooklyn MCs whose Jamaican roots and surroundings in Central Brooklyn’s Caribbean community were integral to to their sound.

The Hitboy-produced “Belly of the Beast” features a cameo from Chronixx, the reggae artist whose young age, old-school influences, and swift rise mirror Joey’s own come-up; “Curry Chicken” is a sort of tribute to his mom’s home cooking; Then there’s “No. 99,” essentially the Jozif Badmon anthem, with the rambunctious energy of Leaders of the New School and Da Bush Babees (another group out of Joey’s home turf in Flatbush), and a sample of Ding Dong’s “Badman Forward, Badman Pull Up.” Real Badmon! —Jesse Serwer