Concert review: Joey Bada$$, The Powerstation

By Chris Schulz

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Joey Bada$$ is bringing back the '90s.
Joey Bada$$ is bringing back the '90s.

Outkast have reunited, A Tribe Called Quest are touring again and Wu-Tang Clan are recording a new album.

There's a lot of love for '90s-era hip-hop around right now, and no one's tapping into that spirit more than Joey Bada$$.

The 19-year-old Brooklyn-ite proved he has a motormouth to match his smartass style at Friday night's packed Powerstation show, delivering his gruff, hard-hitting rhymes over the kind of cruisy beats and summery vibes beloved of '90s-era rap.

He started with highlights from his essential 2012 mixtape 1999, like the jaunty piano lope of World Domination, the throwback thriller FromdaTomb$ and the downbeat Portishead-style trip-hop of Hardknock, before moving onto material from his more recent Summer Knights.

Proving just how enamoured with the '90s he is, he then showcased his DJ Premiere-produced track Unorthodox, played his portion of A$AP Rocky's old school pass-the-mic battle track 1 Train, then performed his new song Two Lips live for the first time, which comes with a beat gifted to him by the estate of the late, great J Dilla.

He's only got two mixtapes and a handful of singles out, but there was little fat in an hour-long concert that was perfectly paced and brilliantly executed that was lapped up by a crowd witnessing the best rap show the Powerstation has seen since Odd Future's pre-Big Day Out show in 2012.

And there were chaotic, near riotous final scenes for the thrilling closer Survival Tactics, with the star of the show forced to tackle stage invaders back into the crowd to help clear the masses.

But that just showed the energy and enthusiasm there was on the night. This Bada$$ is proving that we're in the middle of another golden age for hip-hop - and he's right at the centre of it.

Joey Bada$$
Where: The Powerstation, Auckland
When: Friday, December 6

- nzherald.co.nz

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