First up, musically it's a solid record. Naturally as an artist he's matured; while his first one was quite hard hitting and abrasive, this one is very subtle and his thoughts have become more refined and pensive, and the production mirrors that too.
But the content and overall meaning is what I really want to get into. Joey is the same age as me, so we're from the same generation. Now, of course we come from different backgrounds and we're shaped by very different experiences; especially since though I am also a person of colour, I will never face the oppression and prejudice he faced/continues to face as a black man. But one thing we do have common is we're both 22 year olds living in the same world context. And for me this record is symbol of the life of a young person in 2017.
My favourite track and one that I think represents the record as a whole is Babylon. In the song feel like he's saying 'all this injustice is happening around me and I'm so angry and sick of this and though I am privileged and have a power many of my people don't have, I just don't know how to help in world that's not listening and I just feel like giving up.' Hence the lines from Babylon -
I'm running away/I just can't cope with the pain/You just won't understand
This sentiment is one that speaks to me on so many levels. I feel like because of my age (and my gender) people think that 'you don't know anything about anything, you're too young to understand and offer anything beneficial or worthy'. This kind of stuff really gets me down. My life is about striving for equality for all people and I want give all I can to the cause. But I feel like what's the point of putting in all this effort to make a change when it's falling on deaf ears. But then I remember I need to keep going. And artists like Joey help with that, because by the end of the record, he's like 'nah, fuck my doubts, I'm going to do this and make a difference'.
This is why I feel like Joey is the voice of a generation, my generation. And it is why I connect to this record a lot.
Now Kendrick's Damn was also released a few days afterwards and though I think it's a great record (like come on, it's Kendrick, it's gonna be great. Though I don't think it's a good as TPB) but I just don't connect to it in the same way I do with Joey.
I was going to end this post a little differently, but there's something that ties these two records nicely. On DNA, a song from Damn, there's a sample of news reader who says "hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years" which is directly in response to a performance of Kendrick's Alright.
Firstly, that statement is just the most incorrect thing I have ever heard. It's just pure insanity, for one in general, but particularly to someone who just spent a year of her life studying hip hop culture. But more importantly it shows how blind people of privilege, white people in this case, are to the plights of people who aren't 'them', 'the others'.
So, I think for this reason alone, it just proves how important Joey (and Kendrick and all the other wonderful young rappers around at the moment) is in educating people what's really going on in this this day and age. So I guess, on behalf of all the politically minded kids, thanks Joey.