It was a few years ago when I met Mr. Joey Batts. At a local bar with a good friend of mine, Blak Philly, and performing that night was a friend of mine named Beat Whiz, who was the drummer for the band JOEY BATTS & THEM. A great mix of Hip Hop, Comedy and Rock, if you know and love The Roots, you need to know about Joey Batts & Them. I was very excited when I finally got my copy of their project, Bowtie Chronicles.

The first track on this 8 song masterpiece is Best Friend. I’ve seen this song performed many times on stage and I love how that feeling was brought to you on the project, with the energy as if they recorded it live at a show. The thing I love about the track is the silly edge it has, as if it could be on the Cable Guy soundtrack as the theme for Jim Carrey’s character.

Next up is one of my favorite tracks from Joey called Bad Guy – mostly because I’ve been itching to remix it, and partly because it is a very entertaining track. Very few times have I heard a song as creative as this where a guy can rap about being the bad guy in the movie, but still make you love him.

Bowtie Chronicles continues with the track Noodles. Backed by a ripping guitar riff, the song is a head nodding anthem for those a little “touched in the head”. Joey’s unorthodox rhyme style fits perfectly with the feel of a very hard, driven track. And for the record, Joey, you are wrong, cause this is a great song.

Needle Cruel has a “dive bar” feel to the instrumental portions of it, like there should be shots of Jack lined up as guys shoot the shit at closing time. At first listen, Joey’s delivery almost seem as if nothing is planned, as if it is all freestyle, until you really listen to the punchlines that get woven through the song with scary accuracy.

Next on the list is Superhero, which is fitting for a guy who played the other side earlier in the same project as the “Bad Guy”. Just as he did with the earlier track, Joey gives us a glimpse into the life of Hip Hop’s “Superhero” – as if the comics and cartoons came to life in musical form. The insane Joey Batts & Them paint a vivid Frank Miller/Alan Moore picture of the superhero that resides inside of his mind.

In 860, here is one of the two song that have a video to go with it. The hometown anthem that shouts out to everything from ESPN to The Whalers. Joey takes you on a quick ride to the place he calls home. A very live track that could easily be performed at the games of any of the local sport teams. Joey proves that he is 860 to the heart.

On the second song with a video, Boom Bap, Joey’s energetic verses are what reminds me that this is hip-hop, and not a summertime rock anthem. The infectious feel of the lyrics combined with the eerie yet rushing feel of the track makes for a a great LIVE experience. It’s like you know this song is killer and it stays that way rather you listen to this on the project or you see it live. This song is a show stopper. And you mix it with a concert/behind the scenes style video you have a hit.

The last stop on this fun ride is the track called Spaceship. Every good emcee should be able to tell a story, not about themselves but a story. And this is where I think Joey shines as he weaves a tale about a modern day super woman. A lot of people may dismiss what he is doing, because he doesn’t deliver it with your smooth approach. But he does it with a brash and rough tone that almost forces you to acknowledge the skill he uses in this song. This song is the best example of the group we call Joey Batts & Them.

So for all those who are actually looking for something refreshing to listen to, go get your hands on this. Trust me and your ears and mind will thank you ten fold later.

For any more info on Joey Batts & Them, please check out:

The official Joey Batts & Them Website: http://www.rapjoeybatts.com,

Their site on Reverb Nation – http://www.reverbnation.com/joeybattsandthem,

Their site on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JoeyBattsandThem

Their Twitter – @RapJoeyBatts

The 860 Video –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEnQ4zQK24c

The Boom Bap Video –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0ZLdZqFQS0