Complex | Combat Jack

Joey Bada$$ on The Combat Jack Show Ep. 3

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Combat Jack:

Joey, man, we talking about this trajectory that you're on, man; TV, magazines, the whole nine. You get to meet Jay Z, Hov. Tell us . . . walk us through that experience, man.

Joey Bada$$

That experience was a . . . it was like a dream. It was a dream, but it was like a dream come true, like one of those dreams you're like just leaves like, "Yo, what did this mean?"

Combat Jack:

It stays with you.

Joey Bada$$

What did I learn from that dream? That experience, I was on tour last summer. I was on the Smokers Club Tour, and then while I'm on tour, in the middle of the tour, it just started. Mind you, I'm on my first tour so I'm like, "Shit, we living it up," or whatever.

Combat Jack:

I made it. On I'm top.

Joey Bada$$

Not even like that, because we definitely wasn't on top, man. We was at the back scavenging.

Combat Jack:

By the toilet in the bus.

Joey Bada$$

We couldn't even take shits on that bus, bro. Yeah, it was crazy. I get the call from my manager. He's like, "Yo, Jay wants to fly you out and meet with you." I'm like, "Wait. Hold up. What you say bro?" He says it again. I'm like, "Wow."

Combat Jack:

Jay wants to fly you out immediately.

Joey Bada$$

Yeah.

Combat Jack:

You're on the plane flying to meet Jay?

Joey Bada$$

Yeah.

Combat Jack:

What are you doing, B?

Joey Bada$$

I'm writing verses, bro. I'm writing verses, I'm inspired.

Combat Jack:

Right. At this point are you a little nervous? For the most part, you haven't been nervous.

Joey Bada$$

Was I nervous? It wasn't really a feeling of being nervous, it was just like, "Wow. Yo, what it he going to say?" It was just a lot of thinking. It was a lot of pondering.

Combat Jack:

Are you rehearsing what you're going to say too, man?

Joey Bada$$

Low-key. I was just going walking in and be like, "Yes" to whatever. Before he even says shit, "Yes, I'm with it. Sign me now." I played it cool. It was just me, my mom, and my manager, Shipes. We just like, "You ready for this Jay?" I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

Combat Jack:

What's your mom saying?

Joey Bada$$

My mom is just smiling. My mom is just like . . .

Combat Jack:

She's like, "Yes."

Joey Bada$$

Pretty much.

Premium Pete:

It's funny how, Combat, a lot of people, with Jay Z, is the ultimate in mom's believing in that they people are doing something. I remember when Bone was saying that all those years rapping that his mother never believed that anything until he was in the 'Big pimpin' video with Jay Z.

Combat Jack:

That's crazy.

Premium Pete:

Did your mom . . . when you went to meet Jay Z, did she feel that way [inaudible: 03:11], like, "Oh shit. It's about to be on"?

Joey Bada$$

My bad. I didn't mean to cut you off.

Premium Pete:

No.

Joey Bada$$

I'm sure she did. She kept telling me how proud of me she was. It was actually, it was very dope because I had this line in my song 'Waves'; I was like, "Won't stop until I meet Hova and my momma's in a Rover." She's like, "That mean I'm going to be getting that Rover soon, right?"

Combat Jack:

You get to New York; get to the elevator, going up the elevator.

Joey Bada$$

Roc Nation building.

Combat Jack:

Roc Nation building.

Joey Bada$$

Going up. What was it, 33 floors? I don't know.

Combat Jack:

That's a long ass ride.

Joey Bada$$

Yeah. I'm just like, "Let's do it." Walk us to the office, like, "All right, Sean will be with you shortly."

Combat Jack:

Okay.

Joey Bada$$

Then we just went in the office, and here he is at the back by the window just like . . . he's doing his regular Jay Z shit; whatever he does. He's actually looking pretty fly in his office, just casual. He had on the . . . he had some Adidas, he had on a white tank top with the 2 gold rope chains shining out that shit. I was like, "Damn."

Combat Jack:

Peeking out, right?

Joey Bada$$

Yeah, peeking out. We just sat down and we spoke. He was just telling me his visions for . . . basically what he wanted for me to get involved in with Roc Nation. It was actually the Roc Nation management and things like that. He just spoke with me, "Yo, that 'Waves' track, yo, that is it right there." He was like, "That is it. That's like what you need to run with. This is music." He said that to me and that just stuck in my head from then, man.

Combat Jack:

What are you telling him, man? What are you saying to him?

Joey Bada$$

I'm just so happy bro. I was just like . . .

Combat Jack:

You showing it right now.

Joey Bada$$

This is like I'm just living a dream coming true. I'm just on a cloud of elation, like 'What the hell? I'm really in Jay's office right now.' He told me, "What is your plan?" I told him, "World domination." He told me, "That's everybody's plan." That made me think a different way, as well. He was like, "Your plan is how are you going to achieve this? How you going to go about doing it?"

Combat Jack:

'World domination' is easy to say.

Premium Pete:

That's the end result. What's the plan to get it?

Joey Bada$$

Exactly.

Dallas Penn:

Slavery

Joey Bada$$

That's what he was like telling . .

Combat Jack:

Show's over.

Dallas Penn:

Kidnapping.

Combat Jack:

You end up doing a record with DJ Premier, another legend in the game. An 18-year-old is not supposed to be making records with DJ Premier. How did that happen, man?

Joey Bada$$

I did this one-off single with Green Label Sound, and they was like, "Yeah, we going to throw some Mountain Dews in your videos, and then you're going to hop on this track with this special producer." I'm like, "All right cool." When they first told me who the producer was it was like, "We going be linking you up with DJ Premier." They said it casually. I'm like . . .

Premium Pete:

Stop playing.

Combat Jack:

Stop playing? What?

Joey Bada$$

The day I first went in there, I met him; schooling me to the game. It felt it was exactly how it was supposed to feel.

Combat Jack:

What is he telling you?

Joey Bada$$

He's telling me everything, man. He's telling me how when he was coming up what it was like, how it was like when I'm coming up; that how he likes the path that I'm on. He was giving me some pointers, some tips; just mentoring me, schooling me to the game. It was the first time I met him, [inaudible: 06:42] headquarters, the legendary studio headquarters; I'm there. In there, he has all these plaques on the wall, Jay, Nas, Big Al.

Combat Jack:

These records that you grew up with.

Joey Bada$$

These records that I grew up with, in his studio. I'm just looking around the room, and then I just started feeling the presence and the energies of all these people that came through.

Combat Jack:

All those rappers, all those classics.

Joey Bada$$

Yeah. When he cooked up the beat, I just took what I was doing. Looking at his wall, looking at popular colored faces, [inaudible: 07:18] faces and all races. That's like . . .

Combat Jack:

You on some Kaizer Soze shit right now.

Dallas Penn:

Real talk, B. He's a prodigy. Joey Bada$$ is a rap prodigy; he's a hip-hop prodigy. This is the trajectory he's on.

Combat Jack:

I said earlier, man, that you're cheating right now. man.

Dallas Penn:

Why's he cheating, because he's got all A's on the test?

Combat Jack:

No, listen, man.

Dallas Penn:

Why a young black man has to cheat to be good?

Combat Jack:

Listen man; you in the studio, reportedly, with Primo.

Joey Bada$$

Reportedly.

Combat Jack:

With Q-Tip, with Pete Rock. Then the BT cycle which is big. How did that happen, man?

Joey Bada$$

They reached out to management. They was like, "Yo, we want Joey to be in this year's Cipher." I was same way; amped again. Same way when I got nominated for the Best Mixtape of the Year; happened the same way. That right there, actually when that happened, that was a change in regard for me because I was like, "Wow. Yo, I'm really . . . people are actually hearing me." It was on the BET Awards, nominated for Best Mixtape of the Year; my first project ever. It was up there with Rick Ross, Wiz Kalifa, [inaudible: 08:37]; that feeling, it made me cry honestly. When I seen that, it made me cry.

Combat Jack:

No, that's real man. You're 18; you're a very young man. In 10 years, you're going to be 28; you're going to be a young man. What is Joey Bada$$ in 10 years?

Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ is an Executive of the Year somewhere in 10 years. Joey Bada$$ is a filmmaker, director, Joey Bada$$ is actor, Joey Bada$$ is, Joey Bada$$ is 10 years is not even Joey Bada$$ anymore.

Combat Jack:

See accent change.

Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ is not even Joey Bada$$ anymore.

Combat Jack:

Is Joey Bada$$ still rapping?

Joey Bada$$

In 10 years . . . we'll have to see in 10 years, man. These next 10 years is going to be like 20 years compared to the passing years.

Dallas Penn:

In one year, you done wild the F out. Let's take it a year at a time please, Bada$$.

Combat Jack:

Joey, you know what we're waiting for right now. It's the end of the show. You've been an excellent guest.

Joey Bada$$

Thank you.

Combat Jack:

Before you leave, man, you know you got to . . .

Joey Bada$$

Y'all been excellent hosts.

Combat Jack:

No, thank you, sir. Cheers. Before we leave, man, our own DJ Benhameen is going to give you some beats, and I want you to murder shit, man. I want you to come in.

Joey Bada$$

I'm going to give y'all a little . . .

Combat Jack:

Sway. Sway.

Joey Bada$$

I said another loud pack, Another proud cat. Hey, pound that. Hip-hop sound's been profiled back. Slow down, that. Metronome nigga, let it hit home with the specimen shown. Gold glitter, gonnna ice this trigger. True ideology; I can subtract one with a gun that's true triginomotry, But I won't coincide with a true nigga that I'ma be. It's world poverty, I kick philosophies, not because I rock Socrates, Ain't gonna beg, but I can please. Rock your socks and socket out your knees, fulfill your needs, With similes, not similar, Spit that unfamiliar. I put that on familia, If you love hip-hop, ladies, rub your [inaudible: 10:46] And fellas beat they chest like they Silverback Gorillas. It's a new age, Children of the [inaudible: 10:51], Thinking a butterfly. Try catapult catapillars.

Combat Jack:

What internets? Combat Jack Show, Complex TV, Joey Bada$$, Brooklyn.


In the third and final part of our interview with Joey Bada$$ on The Combat Jack Show, Joey recounts the fateful story of meeting Jay-Z and almost signing to Roc Nation, which has been immortalized in his "1 Train" lyrics.

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