A whole mess of people claim that hip-hop died when ‘Pac and Biggie died. That belief is by far one of the most ludicrous ideologies one could possess; it’s on par with racism and Evangelicalism. But to be fair, I could see why people believe this. The West Coast-East Coast era is debatably hip-hop’s golden age, boasting landmark albums such as Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Biggie’s Ready to Die, and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. The 1990’s was undoubtedly a great time for hip-hop and Joey Bada$$ plays on this. On the young rapper’s appropriately titled debut, 1999, the prodigy taps into the sounds that characterize ‘90’s hip-hop: DJ-infused samples, slowed relaxed beats, ice cold flows, record scratches, and even lyrical content. The opening “Pinky and the Brain” sample kicks straight into a saturday-morning-cartoon rhythm, preceding a rollicking piano loop that sounds like a drunken Ray Charles riff. Bada$$’s flow is a paradox, flowing with sloppy ease and vigorous rigor at the same time. The MC’s lyrics take on a philosophical stoner’s persona, covering topics from opium to 1999’s hit film, The Matrix. The debut singlehandedly refutes the “hip-hop is dead” claim and adds more beeps to the genre’s heartbeat monitor. Clinging to an era simply because it is comfortable is nothing new to the human race. From Jay Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan to Christopher McCandless’ escape to the wilderness in search of solitude, the human race craves comfort, solace, and warmth. 1999 contains all three of those but never falls victim to cheap imitation.