In 1995 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sounds like: Your older brother's favorite hip-hop cassette tape from the early '90s. 

For fans of: Nas, Gang Starr, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth.

Latest release: PEEP: The Aprocalypse, a collection of meditative songs released by the Pro Era crew, which Joey Bada$$ is part of. It's the last release involving talented member Capital Steez, who took his own life on Christmas Eve last year at age 19.

Why you care: Hip-hop purists have been waiting years for someone like Joey Bada$$ to come around. The 18-year-old rapper has become a darling of the underground for his impressive wordplay and vintage East Coast beats, built on dusty samples and classic soul breaks. For those who consider A$AP Rocky too Southern-fried or French Montana lyrically weak, Joey and his Pro Era crew represent the return of the "golden era" New York sound. That's all great, but what's really intriguing about the young MC is his ability to take a traditional formula and make it sound fresh again. Just hearing him and his crew laugh and spit clever rhymes about adolescent problems like girls and school over sample-based production infuses new excitement into an old sound. For years, we've heard veteran groups such as L.A.'s People Under the Stairs use a similar formula, but there's something truly refreshing about hearing a talented youngster like Bada$$ give us his take.


SEE IT: Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era play Peter's Room at Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., with Flatbush Zombies, the Underachievers and DJ Statik Selektah, on Thursday, March 21. 8 pm. Sold out. All ages.