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Joey Bada$$: You've seen him around

The triple threat dominates music, fashion and TV — and that's just this year.
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    On "Mr. Robot" withRami Malek

    |USA Network

There is no containing the chaos that is inherent with Joey Bada$$. The 21-year-old Brooklyn-born rapper has managed to turn his music career into a riveting reign through multiple facets of pop culture. That havoc bleeds into our brief phone conversation — the rapper (born Jo-Vaughan Virginie Scott) is pressed between ending his European tour the day before starting his American one alongside Top Dawg Entertainment luminary Schoolboy Q.

As he takes a break on the set of a video shoot, he explains that nerves are a thing of the past. "I don't get nervous anymore over touring, really,” he says. “At this point, it'd be pretty weird. Right before I get onstage, I do a little, but I've gotten used to it. When I was asked to tour with Schoolboy, I was like 'Hell yeah!'"

Known for his '90s-inspired hooks and more so present-day social commentary, his lax performance demeanor can also be applied to his songwriting process. "Different days, different moods, different vibes, different methods,” he explains. “Sometimes I write, sometimes I don't write. But I go with the flow and I never force anything." The organic nature of his debut studio album, “B4. Da.$$,” is conspicuous between bars; the emotion he places behind each song is hard to execute but comes naturally to the MC.

Likewise, his foray into acting was just as seamless. His role as Leon on USA Network’s Golden Globe-winning series “Mr. Robot” turned out to be an extension of who he really is. "Leon was an easy role for me to nail because we have so much in common,” the rapper says. “He's mysterious, I'm mysterious. He's a talkative dude, I'm a talkative dude. I'm trying to make an impact and progress in all areas whether it's music or acting if that makes any sense. I just want to act more, period."

If dark dystopian drama isn't your thing, you may have also spotted him as one of the famous faces in Calvin Klein's Spring 2016 jeans campaign. "Fashion is something you get into but style is something that you're born with and I've always been a stylish dude,” he adds. “If I like something, I don't look at the brand. I look at the piece to see if it reflects my character, you know, who I am."

When asked if he's trying to diversify the entertainment industry with all of his undertakings, he asks me to repeat the question to allow it to sink in. "No, it's bigger than that," he pensively responds. "I'm trying to diversify the world."
If you go:
Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.
Lowell Memorial Auditorium
50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell
$39.50, lowellauditorium.com
Sept. 8 at 8:30 p.m.
Electric Factory
421 North 7th St., Philadelphia
$44.50, electricfactory.info
Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.
Terminal 5
610 West 56th St., New York
$42.50, terminal5nyc.com

 

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