We caught up with Joey Bada$$ backstage at his latest tour to see how much he's grown since the last time we saw him, to ask him about all things '90s related, and to get him to admit how many times he says "swank" a day.
Hey Joey! It's been about a year since the last time I saw you. What have you been up to since then?
I've just been having fun! Just really enjoying everything, you know? And just progressing everyday.
So right now you're on the Under The Influence of Music Tour where you're the opening act for artists like A$AP Rocky and Wiz Khalifa. How is this tour different from the other ones that you've been on?
It's similar to my first one in a way because during that one I was opening up for Juicy J, so it's another time being a backup artist. It's really humbling because every time I go on I realize how much more work I have to do, since these artists are bigger than me. So it drives me a lot too, it makes me want to work even harder.
So right now you're sporting one of the new Yo! MTV Raps T-shirts from the Stüssy collection. Were or are you a really big fan of the show?
Yeah, I am!
Since a lot of the episodes were out when you were just a kid, how did you get to watch it?
Well, at a point they had a bunch of reruns and shit playing and I got really into it. But I do remember watching it as a kid!
Do you have a favorite episode?
I like the one with N.W.A. and the one with Tupac.
And did you have a favorite host?
I gotta say Ed Lover! [Laughs]
So if you had to pick your favorite artist out of the following tees in the collection, who would it be: Queen Latifa, Erik B. & Rakim, De La Sol, Ice T or Gang Starr?
I gotta say Gang Starr.
Because it's lonely at the top in whatever you do, you always gotta watch mothafuckers around you. That's why!
So one of your songs is named "95 Til Infinity" which of course brings to mind the song "93 'til Infinity" by Souls of Mischief. Is it a direct reference or based off that song?
Everybody says that! I guess it is. I mean like yeah, obviously it is from that but I wasn't trying to redo that song's feel or anything like that, it was just what I felt, and the year I was born. I always rep '93 but I gotta rep '95 as well!
So who are some of your favorite artists from your youth?
I say the same artists all of the time [laughs]. The Wu, B.I.G., Doom, Three Stacks, OutKast...
How about some artists who are out right now?
I listen to a whole bunch of Pro Era, Top Dog and everybody out right now. I listen to everything from TDE to GBE. I don't really block off anyone; my ears are pretty much open to whatever I hear.
So how about style from the early '90s? Are there any big trends from back in the day that you wear now?
Gold... I was always into the gold. Baggy clothes, the sneaker game, snapbacks, bucket hats.
Since your style is heavily influenced from those years, how do you combine the style of the past with what's out today?
I mean, it's inspired by the '90s but still based off my swank.
We talked about swank in your first interview with us, so I'm glad to hear it's still going. How many times a day do you think you say it?
Swank? [Laughs] 47.
What are some of your other favorite slang words? From now or back in the '90s?
"Yo God," "Da Bomb," [laughs] shit like that.
Okay, let's go off topic. What song would we catch you singing in the shower if no one else was around?
There's this one Craig Mack song that I sing. Shit is dope as hell.
If you could collaborate with anyone on a song, dead or alive, who would it be with?
What's the background of your phone right now?
Wait, where is my phone? My background's actually a picture of my buddy Steelo and I. It's fan art.
I saw some fan art on your Instagram. Do you get a lot of it?
Yeah, I love fan art.
So should I tell everyone to send it in?
[Laughs] Yeah, send it over!
One last question: what advice would you give to aspiring young artist who want to have a career in this industry?
Definitely always be sharpening your skill daily. Just practice a lot, be optimistic! And if you're cut out, it could work.