Earlier this summer, Joey Bada$$ released his first solo music since his politically charged All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ way back in 2017. Since then, he has been featured on a handful of songs and played a large role in the relatively underwhelming Beast Coast collective album, Escape from New York. Apart from that, he has been very quiet.
The Light Pack EP consists of three new tracks, “The Light”, the Pusha T assisted “No Explanation”, and “Shine”. This project is heavy with themes of rebirth and in the music video for The Light, Joey reveals that he took part in a voodoo ceremony in June with the intent of being reborn. “The Light” is a very solid song, using the same classic sample as the Jedi Mind Tricks song “I Against I”. Joey’s ever-confident attitude is back and he boldly sets the tone early in the project claiming, Now world domination by determination/ This is mumble rap extermination/ This is godly interpretation/ This is that ‘Who your top five’ conversation
Now world domination by determination/ This is mumble rap extermination/ This is godly interpretation/ This is that ‘Who your top five’ conversation
The Brooklyn emcee is clearly back with a vengeance, returning to his braggadocious raps that we have come to expect from him.
That’s the thing though: for all of this talk of a rebirth, this project feels stylistically very similar to his music from before his hiatus. None of the beats from this EP would feel out of place on All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. The themes have varied, but sonically this project feels like nothing new, despite arriving three years later.
That’s the thing though: for all of this talk of a rebirth, this project feels stylistically very similar to his music from before his hiatus.
That is not to say this project is bad. It is not. On “Shine”, Joey raps over a beautiful sample of jazz legend Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”. The Statik Selektah produced instrumental compliments Joey’s laid-back delivery on the song perfectly.
“No Explanation” bounces between arrogant bars and socially-conscious lyrics from Joey while Pusha T, the only feature on the EP, brings a characteristically strong feature exploring his usual topics of choice, his days as a crack dealer, his wealth and the dubious legitimacy of rappers who claim similar things. Nothing new from Pusha T, but we are not complaining. That man exudes authenticity and confidence. Joey returns to his self-appointed position as voice of the people that he began to come into on his last album. This time around he says, “But I got other things on my mind that’s much bigger/ Like being the voice to this voiceless generation” which echoes his line on “Amerikkkan Idol” that reads “Got to fill the void, I got to be the voice”.
Despite the hiatus, Joey has kept his raw lyrical talent and ear for beat selection while retaining his desire to become a leading voice of his generation.