Bowtie Chronicles ALBUM REVIEW
Track 1. Off the rip, the albums starts off with dope guitar riffs, in this first track especially. Batts style of MC'ing is a splash of old school hip-hop that is reminiscent of The Beastie Boys, on this track Joey shows how he is "Cooler than your coolest friend".
Track 2. Instantly you are reminded of a smooth reggae/rock song, and then Batts and the band make it Punk Rock all at the same time. A great mixture of genre's more so on this track which is so elegantly made for all those "Bad Guys" out there in the world.
Track 3. If you want to get dirty, brawl, and go nuts in a mash....well Batts and Them have the perfect record for it on this track. Contagious beat that makes you just want to bob your head and bang out to, that has a slight N.E.R.D sound to it.
Track 4. If you love Eminem, and love the track "Won't Back Down", then you will probably love this track as well. The guitar riffs are so potent on this track it could make your ears orgasm, the Band goes in on the beat and Batts vocals and lyrical content on this track compliment each other very well. This track is the "embodiment" of The Cool Life.
Track 5. Firstly, if you haven't heard of Beat Wiz, you will now! This beat goes hard. Batts comes into this track like an animal ready to tear it apart, As you listen to the track, it gets you more excited as the seconds tick away, an instant banger, that also shows that Hip-Hop can clearly cross genre's.
Track 6. CT, if you were looking for a track from a local talking about us, WE finally got it!. Joey Batts Reps CT hard on this track. This tracks makes me proud to be from CT, and Batts lyrical content is continually super bad on this track.
Track 7. Instant Classic, well that's what we will be saying about this record! This is the Hottest record I've heard hands down of any project out right now. You instantly get hyped up when you hear Batt's shout "Gimme That Boom Bap"!!!! This track has a super sexy bass line, with equally exciting guitar riffs to give this track a real Rock and Roll feel to it. This is the Hot ONE.
Track 8. I got to this track, and thought....Yes this is a great way to end the album, and you'll think the same when you hear this. This record is the perfect mixture of every single style on the whole album. Through out the whole album and especially on this track Batt's speaks on a relate-able level for a mass of different people, which makes Joey Batt's and Them versatile. You can definitely see Batt's "Flying" on this one.
He's foul-mouthed and intelligent, arrogant and charismatic. Joey Batts is pretty unmistakable. And if you've checked out the live hip-hop scene in Hartford any time in the past five or six years, you've probably crossed paths with him. The rapper started out at the open mic at Sully's; soon he was joining local rap legends the Silent Groove onstage. That collaboration led to the formation of the Zigs and Batts Circus, a sprawling supergroup that featured every instrument imaginable.
Nowadays, Batts spearheads a three-piece band that plays all original music. Throughout his career, he's strongly preferred working with a band over the more traditional DJ-plus-MC stage setup. "As much as people want to say it's art, we're a business," says Batts in a phone interview. "We don't want you to walk by us. We want you to stay and be enthralled. And 50 percent of the people who walk into a bar don't wanna see some kid rapping over a beat, yelling at them. And plus, man," he adds, "it gets lonely as hell up on that stage! You get up there and it's like 'Fuck, man, everybody's judging me!'"
That mix of marketing insight and good humor is classic Batts. It's also evident in his latest promotional push. "Right now the big move is stickerbombing. Really trying to fucking vandalize property like crazy," says Batts. He's referring to his circular stickers that say "Joey Batts is your best friend."
"I think that's where the punk-rock infusion comes into my work. I want people putting stickers on shit, fucking with authority." The sticker features an Obey Giant-style caricature of his face. He's giving a sly, goofy smile. "In this new smartphone age, people can be like, 'Who's Joey Batts?' and bam, Google, and everything comes up." He says his current goal is to get a sticker on every single town-incorporated boundary line in CT. "I've got a tally. I want a sticker and a picture of it."
Content-wise, Batts' raps are loaded with literary references and image-laden nonsequiturs. "I'm an English teacher. I got a book in my hand every day. If you're making songs about stuff you don't know about, eventually you will fall apart, implode, disintegrate, fall away. I can't even keep a straight face if I had to rap about having a huge gun and mad bitches. I would laugh in the middle of the song. But I'll write a song any time about how much I write, how much I read." Listeners are likely to encounter references ranging from Bartleby, the Scrivener to Billy Bibbit from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Batts is currently four albums deep in his "manifesto," an album cycle based on the seven deadly sins. "Gluttony's definitely next," he says. "I already have a bunch of songs where I touch upon overindulgence. Food is just the shallow definition, but there will be songs that poke fun at food, at the media definition of gluttony. I just spoke to Brash, and I'm gonna put Gluttony out on [Brash's label] Aeon Audio. It's gonna be one of Aeon's first actual mixtapes."
Links to his current releases are available on his website. If you miss Batts and crew at their Up or On The Rocks gig, you can catch them on Friday, Sept. 23, when they'll open for the band Live at downtown Hartford's September Block Party.
Have you heard of Joey Batts? Self-proclaimed “live entertainer & genius,” Joseph Battaglia aka Joey Batts has performed in various rap ensembles around southern New England since 2004. His newest project, Joey Batts and Them, is an outfit that might be compared to Josh Smith & The Concert G’s, only because both groups consist of a lead vocalist and a backing band.
Batts’ personal website mentions that he teaches creative writing at Hartford Public High—and this is a most noble service to the community—but it seems he may have run out of creativity on his recent release, the aptly titled “860″. Paean to all things Connecticut (Westfarms Mall, Bradley Airport), “860″ is an essentially four minutes of AABB rhyme-yelling over heavy guitar riffs and the only drum beat your kid brother knows how to play. Lyrical vacuity and noise pollution notwithstanding, this song deserves our attention long enough for us to hear Batts say: “Wesleyan girls, they got great brains.” I’m not 100% sure there isn’t innuendo in this line, but I won’t parse it.
Not too much else to say about music like this. Perhaps Batts’ time is better spent in the classroom (or in performing, as he often does in Hartford). His attempt to give the Nutmeg State more exposure in the rap scene is appreciated, but really, Joey, need we remind you of our state slogan, Fuck Connecticut?
[Author's edit: This post has drawn a fair amount of rebuke. I don't mean to mock Batts or his music. His aesthetic definitely befits a concert setting, so a canned song like "860" leaves much to be desired - to me. “Homegrown CT hip hop needs more love not haters.” I agree, and would recommend artists like Apathy andElvee (who hails from Middletown). I don’t think “Wesleyan girls, they got great brains” is innocuous or a “friendly shout-out,” but that's just one person's opinion. I apologize to those who feel this criticism is undue.]
It’s hip it’s hot its Hip Hop. Lyrical rhymes on an open microphone to the beat of live music every Thursday night at Sully’s Pup on Park Street in Hartford. Hip Hop Open Mic started last year and has grown into a packed crowd of eager Emcees and fans. The hosts are Joey Batts and Lumpsum The Ominous One. The duo has been friends for years, “We met in 2003 and it clicked. It was perfect,” said Lumpsum about his partner Joey Batts. Joey Batts teaches creative writing at Hartford Public and has been playing music professionally for about eight years, “ It’s all about local music,” explained Batts. Where else can you go to see what musicians are doing, but out to clubs like Sully’s Pub who focus on live local talent. Lumpsum has been playing music for fifthteen years. He didn’t realize he was good enough until he was eighteen he explained.
Back in 2001 the pair hosted a Hip Hop Open Mic that was hot at Sullys. The place was jumping and there was a huge following for the event. Then it was cancelled due to a fight, “ Hip Hop is multi racial and we were blamed for the fight, and that was unfortunate. But we begged Sully’s to give us another shot and they agreed,” explained Batts. There are no fights breaking out now only rhymes busting loose to a bopping crowd of fans. It’s all freestyle and improvisational Hip Hop backed by live music. The show starts with the pair spitting rhymes and heating up the microphone. Then they open the show to other Emcees who showcase their lyrical talents. People catch the microphone fever and come back again and again to perform. Sometimes a newbie gets on the microphone and they had no idea of the potential of their talent until that first break on stage, “ It’s a lot of fun,” said Lumpsum with a smile.
Lumpsum has a great deal of respect for his partner Joey Batts, “We call him, Joey Batts the marvelous one. Every once in a while he drops a free-style that blows my mind,” said Lumpsum. Their opposites but their style blends well to create a forum of Hip Hop fusion. Each month they showcase a new Emcee. The next in line for a feature is, Scott Jamesfrom Staten Island, NY. Last week Joey Batts had a CD release party for his new album, “Seven Deadly Sins, Greed”. The lyrical rhymes are born on stage... live every Thursday night at Sully’s Pup.