40. Joey Bada$$ f/ Chance the Rapper "Wendy-N-Becky"
Producer: Thelonious Martin
Label: Cinematic Music Group
"And so it was written, that in the year of our teacha, 27 ACM (After Criminal Minded), a teenager from Brooklyn, name of Joey, and a teenager from Chicago, name of Chance, would combine forces and deliver rap from the scourge of 2 Chainz hooks, hashtag raps, and the dark lord Yeezus and his damn croissant." OK, so that's a heavy burden for a couple of young guys with not very super-hero sounding first names (even if one's a Rapper and the other a Bada$$), but such is the state of backpack rap in 2013.
"Wendy N Becky" isn't the best offering from either of these dudes, but it is a taste of what the two could offer—in tandem or not—in the coming years: dense, erudite raps over a minimalist beat designed to evoke a mood and not step on the rhymes. It's throwback rap made by and for young folks not content to simply listen to old heads wax poetic about Illmatic and Resurrection, and for that they should be applauded. Even if Joey can't walk on water (yet). —Jack Erwin