Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era boys were in Ottawa this past Saturday night as part of the Beastcoastal Tour which is taking them across North America and it’s safe to say that the National Capital City represented to the fullest.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. At 18, Joey Badass is nothing short of talented. Although he was born in 1995, the Pro Era kid’s lyricism and beats sound like they’re straight out of the golden years of American hip hop.
The show opened with some local support after which The Underachievers took to the stage. The Brooklyn duo, made up of members Issa Dash and AK, are the latest Beast Coast rappers to emerge from the NY borough, made famous for hip hop legends such as Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas. The Underachievers performed tracks from their debut mixtape Indigoism, tag-teaming in rapid back-and-forth spit-fire fashion. The duo projected great on-stage energy and gave a short but sweet opening performance.
Flatbush Zombies, also of NY, who have gained momentum in the past year, performed live for the second time in Ottawa after opening for Smoke DZA at Ritual back in October of 2012. As soon as they hit the stage, the crowd went crazy wild to the point that I have rarely seen Ritual that turned up. It was clear then and there that over half of the crowd had gathered to see Flatbush Zombies although they were opening for Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era fam. At one point, a random concert-goer even managed to jump on stage, but was soon removed by security.
The NY trio, comprised of childhood friends Erick Arc Elliott, Zombie Juice, and Meechy Darko, kicked off their set with MRZA and soon followed with S.C.O.S.A. and Thug Waffle, three of the group’s more popular tracks. Had it been for the crowd, Flatbush Zombies would’ve performed a full set, but since they were opening, they wrapped things up in 30 minutes and made way for Joey Bada$$ and his crew. At that point, several Flatbush fans left Ritual, allowing for more space in the previously packed venue.
Joey Bada$$ quickly jumped on stage and got right into his set with tracks from his 1999 debut mixtape, the one that got him noticed and quickly put him on the map as a new rapper to watch for. He started out solo and performed Waves after which he was soon joined by Pro Era members CJ Fly and Chuck Strangers for World Domination, Don’t Front, FromDa Tombz, Pennyroyal and Pantie Raid from the Rejex mixtape.
Between tracks, Bada$$ interacted with the crowd and repeated how Canada shows him mad love and how he “fucks with each and every one of” his fans. He was clearly appreciative of the Canadian support that he’s been receiving and showed it by giving fans a memorable performance.
Bada$$ and the Pro Era boys kept things moving with the DJ Premier produced track Unorthodox followed by Hardknock on which one of the boys beatboxed. The Pro Era fam made sure to remind the crowd about Capital STEEZ, their friend and partner who recently died of suicide, asking everyone to put their lighters up in recognition.
Joey Bada$$ closed the night with the fierce anthem Survival Tactics, a crowd favorite and a salute to his buddy Capital STEEZ. It was a solid exit and an even more solid performance coming from a highly eloquent, confident and entertaining young rapper.
Basically, you know it’s been a successful show when there’s crowd-surfing, beatboxing and a rowdy sold out crowd all in the same night. The show delivered by The Underachievers, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era team will easily go down as one of the best hip hop shows to ever happen in Ottawa.
Check out the video for Unorthodox below.