Back in 2012, when a 17-year-old Joey Badass dropped his star-making mixtape 1999, one of his closest compatriots in the Pro Era crew was Capital Steez, who featured with him on the song “Survival Tactics.” Two years later, Steez was gone after committing suicide by jumping from a rooftop. Since then, his friends have kept his memory alive with their annual Steez Day music festival but that hasn’t stopped Joey from feeling the residual effects. He tackles those thoughts head-on in his new song “Survivors Guilt,” a mournful ode to his late friend.
“Steezy told me get ’em so I got em / Now my n**** gone, he will never be forgotten,” Joey raps. “Ever since he left I’ve just been struggling without him.” He also admits to feeling guilty for not being there for his friend when he needed him, rhyming, “Then I caught a little wave and headed back to shore / And that’s when he started drowning / And he had no one around him / So partially I feel it’s my fault.”
After “Where I Belong,” “Survivors Guilt” is the second single Joey put out in preparation for the release of his album, 2000, the spiritual successor to 1999, which was postponed due to sample clearance issues. In the meantime, Joey has also offered guess verses to Chance The Rapper’s new single “The Highs And The Lows” and Black Thought’s “Because” with Danger Mouse and Russ.
Listen to Joey Badass’ “Survivors Guilt” above.