NXNE 2013: Joey Bada$$ - Wrongbar - June 15
For what was undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated shows of this year’s festival, Toronto’s cramped and sweaty west Queen St. late night haunt Wrongbar played host to prodigal rapper Joey Bada$$, and the 18-year old Brooklynite didn’t disappoint. In front of a packed room of both hardcore fans and curious onlookers that hung on every verse, many of them mouthing along, Bada$$ walked lazily across the tight stage dropping bomb after bomb from his two celebrated mixtape releases with well-greased efficiency. Heavy-hitting DJ/producer Statik Selektah controlled the pace from behind the decks and kept the laid-back rapper on point, setting up recent crowd-loving big drops like “School High” and “Bun N Cheese” alongside early favourites from last year’s 1999, with fellow Pro Era affiliate Kirk Knight along to offer assistance on his own verses.
But one of the biggest moments of the night came when the crew paid homage to the late Capital Steez, letting his verse from the smooth “Like Water” run while Bada$$, Knight, and fans throughout the room respectfully supplied choice ad-libs, hands held high in the air. While one of the main topics of conversation outside the venue following the set was the heat we’d all just suffered through to witness the memorable event, there was no question that the kid with the Golden Era flow more than lived up to the top billing he was given going into his debut Toronto show. (For Exclaim.ca)