20-year old rapper Joey Bada$$ wanted to make sure Japanese fans knew exactly where he came from. “Big up’s to Brooklyn, home of the Era,” he shouted repeatedly near the beginning of his fast-paced 50 minute set at the White Stage. “The Era,” of course being the name of his Brooklyn, NY-area hip-hop collective, Pro Era, of which he brought two fellow members to Fuji Rock, DJ Powers Pleasant and Nyck Caution.
After getting the crowd into the mood with a quick sampler from Pro Era’s native New York City home base, including snippets from the Diplomats’ “I Really Mean It,” and Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy”, DJ Powers Pleasant lured Joey Bada$$ to the stage by dropping the opening bars from the popular “95 Till Infinity” and the energy only escalated from there. At first teasing fans with two or three super-short versions of highlights from his 1999 mixtape, Bada$$ opened it up to a couple full length tracks from his most recent album, B4DA$$ (Before Da Money), peppered with some lengthy and impressive acapella freestyling and impromptu scratching and turntable work by Powers.
Bada$$ linked three more recent stand-outs, “Hazeus View,” “Big Dusty,” and “Christ Conscious”, powering through them in what seemed like a matter of five minutes, all the while gold chains swinging, keeping the crowds hands bobbing and sneaking in a few winks and smiles at the ladies in the front row. When he brought on fellow Pro Era Collective rapper Nyck Caution, the two turned up the pace another few clicks, playing off one anothers’ energy over an unreleased track of Caution’s, “Live for the Highs, Live Through the Lows,” then swapping verses over another couple of Bada$$ tracks. Though the crowd was right with Joey Bada$$ the entire way in terms of energy, it wasn’t until he urged everyone to get more physical and jump around together before launching into the final song of his set that they truly showed it. With pretty slim pickings in terms of purely rap acts at this year’s festival, Joey Bada$$’s entertaining high-energy appearance on the White Stage will without a doubt be a weekend highlight for hip-hop fans.
[Abridged] Set List:
95 Till Infinity
Hard Knock Life / Hardknock
Live for the Highs Live Through the Lows (Nyck Caution)
Ni%#as In Paris
Text by Park Baker / Photo by Taio Konishi
Posted on 2015.7.24 16:57