Back when Jay-Z’s 4:44 album was just a theory, the Roc Nation herald and venerated hip-hop guru spontaneously took to Twitter with over 90 names of fellow artists whom he’s drawn inspiration from throughout his reigning rap career.
Even though Pro Era leader Joey Bada$$ didn’t land on that list, the 22-year-old Brooklyn rap star does believe that his name belongs on the inspiration credits for Hov’s latest platinum-certified opus.
During an appearance on Montreality, he was probed on his thoughts of the 4:44 project. Like most of hip-hop, he sung his praises for the album, its resonating lyricism and, particularly as a rapper who shares the same home turf as Hov, its authentic Brooklyn sound. But as a rap novice stepping into the hip-hop game generations after the 47-year-old, Joey said he believes he was the fire placed beneath the 4:44 album.
"And you know, honestly, I feel like I was an inspiration to that album,” he begins. “Honestly, I know I was an inspiration to that album. It’s nothing nobody could tell me. I put certain pressure on these OGs in the rap game, like they know what they gotta talk about now because they got this young n**ga Joey Bada$$ coming out, talking about this sh** before they got the chance to talk about it. But it is what it is.”
Such a bold self-proclamation could be stirred the wrong way, but we know that the All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ artist means no malice, especially after explaining the reverse inspiration effect the album has had on his own life as well. Besides, they don’t call him the bad ass for nothing.
“I’m glad he spoke about everything he spoke on and I’m glad I could be an inspiration,” he said. “It keeps me hungry. It keeps me wanting more. It keeps me wanting to go harder. Like right now, I’m at my best. I’m at my most ultimate.”
Listen to all of what Joey had to say about 4:44 project in the video below.
(Photos from Left: Gary Miller/Getty Images, Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival)