Joey Bada$$ brings socially conscious rap to Syracuse University concert

Joey Bada$$ brings socially conscious rap to SU concert

The concert was part of ‘Cuse for Good: Social Justice, an event that aimed to bring social justice discussions to campus.
Published: February 19, 2018

At 23 years old, Joey Bada$$ performed Saturday night at Syracuse University with a swagger and skills beyond his years. From the moment he stepped on stage he created an energy with the crowd in Goldstein Auditorium that lasted throughout the entire performance.

The concert was just one part of ‘Cuse for Good: Social Justice, an event presented by University Union, National Panhellenic Council and Student Association that aimed to bring social justice discussions to campus.

Student performers DJ Zel, the Outlaws and Phil the Artist opened for Bada$$ and helped to create a night that was a showcase of talent and energy.

On his most recent album, “All-Amerikkkan Badass,” Bada$$ is informed by political thought by touching heavily on police brutality and systemic racism. The focus of his music made his performance a fitting end to a day dedicated to discussing the issues Bada$$ raps about.

Bada$$ said he was honored to be at the event in “places and spaces where we’re opening up the conversation, and continuing to have the conversation.”

He said this just before performing “For My People,” a song about the socio-political issues black Americans face. Bada$$ was a panelist on the ‘Cuse for Good panel Saturday afternoon, where he spoke about his influences for the album.

Bada$$ took the audience through his experience growing up as a black man in America with an old school sound reminiscent of the 90s New York City hip hop scene.

 

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Phil the Artist, the opener for the Joey Bada$$, at Syracuse University.

The crowd sang along to Bada$$’ lyrics and the two mutually fed off each other’s energy. At times, Bada$$’s songs took him through complex verses that he held for long acapella stretches, showcasing his lyrical skill and finesse.

Bada$$ seemed to satisfy his “day one” fans, such as SU junior Jessica Johnson.

“I’ve always been a huge Joey Bada$$ fan because he isn’t like most mainstream rappers now a days,” she said. “His lyrics always serve a purpose, he speaks up about social issues, and his concerts are always loads of fun.”

Bada$$ also won over some few new fans, such as SU junior Jason Gruber.

“This concert was really fun actually,” he said. “As someone who didn’t know the artist, I was really impressed by him.”

Bada$$ closed with his Platinum single “Devastated,” and the the crowd sang along with every word. Bada$$’s stage presence and lyrical skill had an impact on the crowd, but it was his passion that left a lasting impression on an audience that is not much younger than him. Toward the end of the show, he urged the crowd to spread more love, positivity and unity.

“If one of us ain’t good,” said Bada$$, “Then we all ain’t good, you know?”

Avatar for Georgiana Volturo

is a contributor to The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.