Joey Bada$$ – Land of the Free

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. I love and struggle with this holiday. I honor the simple act of coming around a table to break bread with friends and family in a spirit of gratitude. But, the historical myth of the holiday is pervasive and gratitude comes a bit hard in an era of so much inequality, inequity, need, vitriol, and hate.

And, so, today’s post features an artist whose music I love, whom I’m grateful has the change to put his music out for the world to hear, and who — on only his second studio album, after many, many mixtapes and EPs, and at the age of 22 — takes on heavy issues, gets political, and pushes back on oppression.

I first heard Joey Bada$$ on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, of all places, in 2014. He was clearly performing at the invitation of The Roots crew and they jammed out on Waves, the first single from his debut mixtape and still my favorite track of his. He released that first album at age 17; I saw him on The Late Show at 19. Now, at 22, he’s a veteran…and his still growing and getting better.

As you celebrate the holiday: Be grateful for what you have. Be mindful that others don’t. Have the courage to ask, learn, and seek to change why.

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