With rap constantly evolving, the radio freestyle is not often the best place for rapper's to demonstrate their strengths. As a traditionally New York emcee, Joey Bada$$ still fits the radio freestyle format quite well, as he's proved time and time again in his appearances on Sway In The Morning, Funkmaster Flex, and L.A. Leakers. Any fan of Joey has probably alteady done the YouTube run-through of his many freestyles, but for those who may not have dived that deep, we've selected five of the Brooklyn rapper's best freestyles for your viewing pleasure.
Click through the galleries to watch the freestyles, and let us know which one is your favorite in the comments below.
Rosenberg Freestyle With Pro Era (2012)
Rosenberg Freestyle With CJ Fly and Kirk Knight (2012)
Quotable: "My gift is my cursive / I hit the verse, no curses / Never rehearses / I just disperse this / Trynna get the purchase right out your momma purses"
Best Comment: "Damn it's been 4 years, I remember when this came out like it was yesterday." - Gas Drawls
This early freestyle is a reminder of both how much has changed in the last 5 years and how much has stayed the same. Joey and his Pro Era collaborators CJ Fly and Kirk Knight are still getting the hang of the radio freestyling thing in the clip, but the potential is very much there. If anything, this feels like looking in on a casual cypher between friends, and it's a must for any Pro Era fan new or old to revisit once in a while.
XXL Freshman Freestyle (2013)
Quotable: "The flows is acidic / Cruising in a slow-ass Civic, I got gas, hit it / Hold up, cops passed, I stop, laugh, hit it / Jakes is snake lizards, if they smell they won't come hither"
Best Comment: "I just realized he hinted his album name on this freestyle on his water bottle at the end .. Almost 2 years until it actually came out the album is fire btw." - Vincent Nigro
With rappers becoming more and more melodic and unconventional in their deliveries, the acapella freestyle is no longer the even playing field it once was. However, Joey Bada$$ remains someone who can excel in the open air, as he proved on his XXL Freshman freestyle in 2013. Seeing how far he's come since, Joey's placement on the list was justified.
Funk Flex Freetyl (2016)
Funk Flex Freestyle #003 (2016)
Quotable: "Yeah, looking so strong, got a whole lot of options / Hair growing so long, covering up my optics / And this is coming from the top, though i came from the bottom / With enough fire in my heart to move a whole mountain / And I sip the youth from the fucking fountain / Won't stop 'till my name what they shoutin'"
Best comment: "Anyone who's ever tried freestyle understands this man's skills. He's using real metaphors off top. Like every word adds to the freestyle." - Busy Works Beats .TV
"Third time's the charm," raps Joey Bada$$ at the top of his third appearance on Funkmaster Flex's show. He sounds more confident with the radio freestyle format than ever, spitting some off-the-dome rhymes that sound as steady and dexterous as a prepared verse.
5 Fingers Of Death (2016)
5 Fingers Of Death (2016)
Quotable: "He took a leap of faith and only brightened his light / You took a cheap shot and hate will only shorten your life / Difference between you and him is that he lives forever / You'll be the first to die who nobody ever remembers / Cause the city never needed you ever / You committed career suicide, and made New York better"
Best Comment: "I desTROY AVErage rappers" he just needed one line to get that cornball" - Xevics
Joey isn't typically known to be a rapper who finds himself beefing with other artists. However, after Troy Ave took some tasteless jabs at Capital STEEZ, Joey's friend and collaborator who took his own life in 2012, he decided it was only right to defend STEEZ's honor in a freestyle for Sway In The Morning. Bada$$ switches up the "5 Fingers Of Death" formula by taking on not 5 but 6 beats, spending most of the time showing off his technical skill on the mic, but also reserving a few sharp bars for Troy.
"Mask Off" L.A. Leakers Freestyle (2017)
Quotable: "With the waviest flow, make you seasick / Hope you can swim in the rhythm I'm delivering / Deep drown, I'm telling you to get a friend / White girls and they love me for my melanin / Kiss me all over my brown skin"
Best Comment: "Joey's freestyles are better than half these rappers actual songs." - Casjack
Future's "Mask Off" beat might not be the first instrumental you'd expect Joey Bada$$ to kick a freestyle over, but the Brooklyn spitter is clearly excited to get his hands on the flute-driven Metro Boomin beat during his L.A. Leakers appearance. "This beat is so hard, bruh," he says at the top of his verse, before treating fans to some brand new flows that sound right at home on the Atlanta trap production without borrowing too heavily from artists from the region.