Joey Bada$$ Finds Freedom on Prince-Inspired “Thugz Cry”: Listen

Joey Bada$$ is searching for freedom.

On his latest fering, “Thugz Cry,” the Brooklyn rapper and Pro Era head honcho pays homage to Prince’s “When Doves Cry” while also flexing his singing chops. The earthy timbre his voice adds a tinge understandable desperation as he sings, “I just wanna be free,” with eyes-closed, mic-gripping conviction.

Joey’s hurting soul makes its way into the raps, too; the first verse bottoms out nicely under the weight his delivery while the second is the MC in tip-top form, spitting political bars like a madman.

Bada$$, who debuted the live version “Thugz Cry” earlier this month on Australia’s Triple J radio station, originally intended to place the record on his sophomore album, ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, but when he could not get the Prince sample cleared, he was forced to temporarily backburner it. A real shame, because “Thugz Cry”—produced by 1-900 and NasteeLuvzYou—evidences Joey Bada$$ to be true master fusing melody with the grittiness New York hip-hop.