Directed by Coodie and Chike, the new video for the collaborative effort from upstart Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ and '90s rap legend DJ Premier is like a hip-hop version of Richard Linklater's Waking Life. It's fun to watch! But if young Joey really wants to consider himself unorthodox, he might want to reconsider those dollar signs in his name. At this point, a regular old "s" is more iconoclastic.
There were differing opinions about this song when it came out last year. And it's always a technical challenge to get rap to sound good live. But I think these two old pros came off pretty sharp last night at New York's Highline Ballroom. (Judging from this video, I mean. I wasn't there.) They were guests of the headliners, the underground supergroup Slaughterhouse, who recently signed with Eminem's Shady Records.
The new song from Bun B really does seem, as the venerable MC says at the outset, to have been "a long time coming." It was produced by Gangstarr's DJ Premier, and so brings together two of hip-hop's very most revered practitioners. Bun and Premier are both from Texas, too, though Premier made his name after moving to Brooklyn in the late '80s. What's most interesting about the song to me today, besides the mesmerizing beat and the jaw-dropping rhymes ("When I get to gladiatin' on haters like Leonidas/Niggas just gonna have to admit that he the tightest…" Triple exclamation points) is how old these guys are. [...]