Joey Bada$$ has grown into one of hip-hop’s new leaders, and has built a growing empire all as an independent artist. After shutting down rumors about possibly signing with Jay Z’s Roc Nation early in his career, he followed through with his first album B4.DA.$$ which helped him lay his blueprint to success for others to follow.
Right now, the Brooklyn star is down in New Orleans for the 2017 the All-Star weekend, Joey teamed up with Mountain Dew’s Courtside project to create “Victory” — a track that will have you fueled to keep up with all the hardwood action. As he holds court at DEW’s consumer experience, Courtside HQ, VIBE spoke to the Brooklyn artist about his favorite All-Star moment, his experience working on “Victory,” Chance’s Grammys sweep and more.
VIBE: How did you get involved with Mountain Dew’s Courtside project for NBA All Star 2017?
Joey Bada$$: Well, Mountain Dew and me have been collaborating on several different projects over the years so the rapport was definitely there already. Mountain Dew just became the official beverage sponsor of the NBA. As All-Star was coming up they were thinking about which artist they could involve into their campaign and because we had that rapport built up over the years, they thought of me right away. When they approached me with the opportunity, I thought it was perfect timing because I’ve always been a fan and lover of basketball. I wanted to be a basketball player at one point in my life, so it was definitely a seamless process, and it was definitely cool to do.
You made “Victory” and that song is easily an anthem that kids can listen to who love the sport. What does the track mean to you?
I wanted to merge the world of basketball and everyday life. I was challenged to make a song about basketball but I still didn’t want to make it too left of how I normally make songs about and what my message is. I decided to merge the two things just to create a vibe that deals with victory, winning and striving to be your best.
I have a tough question, but I have to ask as a fellow basketball head. I know you wanted to be a ball player, and you’re from Brooklyn, but who do you like better the Nets or the Knicks?
You also got to remember, back when I was a younger, and I wanted to be a ball player, the Nets hadn’t come to Brooklyn yet, so it was definitely Knicks all day!
What have been some of your favorite NBA All-Star highlights from over the years?
It gotta be from the dunk contest when Vince Carter stuffed his elbow on the rim.That probably one of the biggest highlights ever. I also remember that one year, I can’t remember whether it was ’05 or 06 — where Fred Jones caught an alley-oop and slammed that sh*t. That was one of the craziest dunks I’ve ever seen.
One of my favorites is the the three-point contest. What do you think about that challenge?
This is my first time being at All-Star weekend, so I’m super excited to see the dunk contest, the three-point contest, the skills challenge and the All-Star game.
As a New Yorker, how do you feel about the whole situation with the Knicks and how they are treating Charles Oakley?
I mean I don’t know what really happened, but I think they were a little too forceful with the way they removed him. They should have more respect for him. He’s one of the OGs. I thought that was wack. If he’s still locked up, definitely free Oakley.
What do you think of Chance’s 3 wins at the 2017 Grammys, and what does it mean for Indy artists?
I solely went to the Grammys to see Chance win. Chance is my brother. That was a big moment for all of us. Him winning secured a win for me, too. It opens doors for all independent artists across the world, independent artists like myself. I think that was a big win for hip-hop in general, and I think we are all proud of Chance. I was definitely was happy to see my brother win, and I was happy to see him perform.
The Grammys also hosted a big hip-hop moment this year when Busta Rhymes fired off his Agent Orange comments. How do you feel about the whole situation?
We are in a very important time where so many things are going with politics — and socially. I think it’s a very important time for musicians to come out, and speak up, and be the voice of the people. I love what Busta did. I love that his took that risk and used his voice on such a large platform.