Rappers and rap music have long served as conduits to shed light on issues inflicting communities important to those MCs. And while some have spoken up in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown and the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for his role, Joey Bada$$ thinks there's more to be done.
"I think that it's very important for artists to raise awareness in situations, especially worldwide situations," the Brooklyn native told MTV UK while overseas in London. "Because I feel like, in today's world, in today's society, we don't have as much civil rights leaders as we used to."
"Back in the day, a civil rights leader would come on television and he's well-known; everyone knows him, he's like the president. Now, today, it's like, we have very few -- and the people of today who have that same stature are musicians. Now, it's rappers who have that stature."
With that stature, Joey suggests, comes a responsibility. Artists gain legions of fans and a wide audience eager to listen to them, and that gives them an opportunity to shed light on important issues. The Pro Era MC doesn't plan to let that opportunity go to waste.
"Me, as an artist, I'm always gonna try to do my part," he said. "The more and more I grow, the bigger voice I become -- so, the more people I can actually speak for. So I'm gonna try to utilize that to do nothing but positive things."
Still, he understands that, while his base is strong and will certainly get stronger with the January release of his debut album, B4.DA.$$, there are other artists with even larger platforms who have remained silent. He hopes that will change.
"Right now, we need leaders. We need someone to listen to."