“Downtown Middletown, with the insane / Wesleyan girls, they got great brains.”
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 and Elvee (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.]