Joey Badass on Balancing His Mind and 'Riding Life's Waves' From Crystals: Exclusive Video

joey badass
Tawni Bannister

Joey Badass photographed on May 11, 2015 at Stick Stone & Bone in New York City.

?Joey Badass, standing opposite a tree branch draped with feathered dream catchers, closes his eyes and inhales deeply. It’s a Monday afternoon and inside Stick Stone & Bone, a new-age specialty store on New York’s Christopher Street, the rapper, born Jo-Vaughn Scott, is surrounded by baskets of jagged geodes. He clenches one called a “spirit amethyst” in his left hand. “The energy from it...I actually feel it,” he says, opening his eyes.


For Badass, 20, who grew up attending church in Brooklyn, elements of the natural world have become a form of spiritual catharsis. “As I got older, I realized I didn’t have to be in some building to feel close to God. I could be anywhere -- on the street, in the park -- and experience a higher energy.” It’s a theme echoed in the music video for “Christ Conscious,” the second single off his debut album B4.Da.$$, in which amethysts propel the artist from a basement up into the cosmos.

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The “Capri-quarius” (“I was born on the cusp”), who says “crystals amplify this world and my experiences in it,” is among a handful of artists, including Willow Smith, forgoing diamond-drenched chains in favor of healing stones that shamans consider to be living energy transmitters. “As people who impact hundreds of thousands through their art, musicians are like high priests of modern times,” says California-based shaman Jon Rasmussen, who has guided musicians through ancient rites and rituals. “Ceremonies, plants, crystals — these are some of the medicines that can protect them from the overwhelming demands and sheer energetics of a million people reaching out.”

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Though Badass says he would do spiritual work with a shaman “when the opportunity presents itself,” he draws the line at purgative ceremonial cleanses involving ayahuasca tea (a hallucinogenic brew derived from a plant root) or kambo (frog venom). For now, he’s quite content to go home, waft the $400 worth of crystals he just purchased through sage smoke and slip that spirit amethyst beneath his pillow. “It’s supposed to encourage lucid dreaming,” he says. “I’m going to see where it takes me.”

This story originally appeared in the May 30 issue of Billboard.