Joey Bada$$ leaves the Vogue Devastated

Photo by Rob Steed

Pro Era giant Joey Bada$$ brought his Amerikkkana Tour to Vancouver’s 77-year-old Vogue Theatre Saturday night with a dominant three-act bill that included Brooklyn rapper Chuck Strangers as well as Boogie out of Compton.

Playing to a sell-out crowd in support of his 2017 release All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ the Beast Coast rapper saw a recent change to his opening act when Buddy bailed from the tour in exchange for Bada$$ beat maker Chuck Strangers.

Having recently dropped his first album comprised of his own beats and rhymes, Consumers Park; Strangers began the night by warming the crowd up with a couple of his historically successful Pro Era beats from yesteryear. Once comfortable, Strangers started unleashing cuts from his 2Pac, and Biggie influenced debut LP. Firmly entrenched in the “old-school”, Consumers Park directly attacks the young wave of rap on track after well-produced track. Whether in his voice or due to his imposing size, the comparisons to the Notorious B.I.G. are impossible to ignore. Strangers garnered much positive feedback during his 25-minute set and reciprocated with a show of gratitude of his own before “No Dice”. “It’s nothing but love here in Vancouver”.

The recent Flatbush Zombies invasion to our city provided an all Beast Coast lineup just two weeks back which coupled with Joey Bada$$ adding fellow Pro Era act Strangers to this tour, made Boogie the lone non-Beast Coaster to grace The Vogue Theatre over that stretch. Seamlessly fitting into a lineup of the New York-based MCs, it is not surprising that the Compton born/Long Beach raised rapper cites Dr Dre, The Game and Kendrick Lamar as influences. A recent signee to Eminem’s Shady Records, the almost entirely blind in one eye rapper with a lisp made waves in 2014 and again a year later with his mixtapes Thirst 48, and The Reach.

Having released Thirst 48 Pt. 2 in 2016 Boogie’s meteoric rise to stardom has come with an impressive run of stage-time over the past two years providing him with an excellent command of the room. Between an impromptu musicless freestyle and inviting a member of the crowd to the stage to spit some bars, the lyricist had the Vogue Theatre vibing his set early. Peering into a sea of W’s, Boogie did well to inject some West Coast warmth into the night with his lyrics “Love you like the Westside” from “Sunroof”. A tremendous compliment to the Amerikkkana Tour, Eminem has a monster lurking in his Shady Records lineup.

It seems like everything Joey Bada$$ touches turns to fire and the rapper’s latest stop-off in Vancouver was no different. Taking the stage with the first single from his most recent release “Rockabye Baby”, Bada$$ did not need ScHoolboy Q for the live version of the song to incite a near riot. Transitioning to a lit rendition of “Ring the Alarm” from All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, JayOhVee read the crowd perfectly and hit us next with the legendary track “Paper Trail$” from 2015’s B4.DA.$$ (“Before The Money” cleverly formulated to read as “BADASS”). Sticking with B4.DA.$$ for a spell, Bada$$ went on a four song run from the 2015 LP before giving the crowd its first taste of material from the 2012 game-changer 1999 (“Survival Tactics”). Bada$$ stayed on 1999 for a trifecta of tracks before returning to the album he is currently touring in support for a five-song stretch starting with “Temptation”. It was not until the bottom of his set did the MC finally hit his rabid audience with “95 Til’ Infinity”, the first and only Lee Bannon produced tune of the night as well as the only selection from the rapper’s 2013 mixtape Summer Knights. After showcasing the 2016 single “Front & Center” (originally slated for the All Amerikkkan Bada$$ album), Badmon offered what felt like a genuine goodbye. However, the poet was only fooling himself if he thought he could leave the building without conquering the fan-favourite “Devastated”, which he did after the encore.

For a genre that often perpetuates violence or at the very least finds ways to glorify hostility, the overall vibe from Joey Bada$$ has always been one of love and forward progress. With upbeat songs containing thoughts of personal empowerment, inner-strength, inclusion and world peace Joey B took a moment at the end of the night to echo the same feelings Chuck Strangers shared a couple of hours earlier. “VanCity I couldn’t thank y’all enough for coming out tonight. I felt the love and the energy the whole motherfuckin’ time. It was an honour. Peace and love, until next time.”

Joey Bada$$ Setlist

Rockabye Baby

Ring The Alarm

Paper Trail$

Hazeus View

Big Dusty

Christ Conscious

Survival Tactics

Hardknock

Waves

Temptation

For My People

Land of the Free

Babylon

Amerikkkan Idol

On & On

95 Til Infinity

Front & Center

___________

Devastated