1999 – Joey Bada$$
Joey Bada$$’s breakout debut 1999, initially released in 2012 as a free mixtape, reveals the then-17-year-old as a true rap prodigy. Over jazzy production from his PRO ERA crew and repurposed beats from MF DOOM, Lord Finesse, and the late J Dilla, Bada$$ delivers couplets with fervor, confidence, and a clear intent to impress—the same way he would have at his Brooklyn high school’s lunch table. Young Joey favors a vintage New York boom-bap aesthetic far beyond his years, forged by influences like Boot Camp Clik, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas. The album’s official release here, six years later, is as much a testament to its staying power as to the timeless sound of Joey Bada$$’s forefathers.