Joey Bada$$ brought his new single “Land Of The Free” to The Late Show on Monday night, rapping about mass incarceration, political corruption and the legacy of American slavery as a nimble live band accompanied him.
Bada$$ took the stage with head bowed, draped in an American flag-like garment. He performed with help from a drummer, keyboard player, bassist and DJ. The four men conjured a funky sound full of nimble, descending runs on bass, jolts of synthesizer and steady percussion. Bada$$ ended the performance in the pose of a supplicant, down on one knee and his eyes raised skyward.
The beat for “Land of the Free” came together during a late-night studio session with producers Kirk Knight and Adam Pallin. “And as soon as my man started going crazy on the keys, I just felt this immense vibe,” Bada$$ told Genius. “A classic feel. Just the way the instruments were sounding, I was like, ‘Kirk, you got to give me these types of drums: the juicy joints. Don’t sample nothing, but just do it like this type of feel.'”
Bada$$ returned to the song a month later to add lyrics after watching speeches from Doctor Umar Johnson, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey. “Land of the Free” appears Friday on Bada$$’s new album, All-Amerikkkan Badass.