Joey Christ is almost inhumanly relaxed. Sitting in the 101wonderland studio, right in front of Útvarp 101, the radio station he works every day from 07:00 until 14:00, he leans back into the cushions. It’s T-minus three days until the drop of his heavily anticipated album ‘Joey 2,’ but if you saw him right then, you might just think he’s on vacation.
It’s rare that you find a musician with such a prolific rise as Joey Christ. His first single, ‘Joey Cypher,’ was the banger of 2017, and featured a supergroup of Icelandic rappers including Herra Hnetusmjör, Aron Can and Birnir. That same year, he dropped two albums, ‘Anxiety City’ and ‘Joey,’ both of which got millions of hits on Spotify and graced the playlist of every hip hop head in the country. You can’t find someone else in the country that’s equivalent. Joey is unique.
“Yeah, it’s kind of weird to release your first song and probably have it be the most popular song you’ll ever make,” Joey says, laughing. ““Joey Cypher” was a huge hit. It was a landmark for the scene, but I’m trying to leave it behind for ‘Joey 2.’”
2 Fast 2 Joey
This album, Joey reiterates, is different. First off, there will be no collaborations, while in his previous efforts, nearly every song included a featured artist. “I needed to challenge myself, so I said I have to make a solo album where I don’t rely on anyone but myself,” he explains.
The subject matter and vibe of the ‘Joey 2’ will also be a bit more serious. “I’ve gotten better at communicating what I’m going through, so I’m getting more personal,” he says. “When I did ‘Joey,’ it was just a party. Everything was a party, but everything isn’t a party for me anymore. I’m grown up.”
This change in subject matter mirrors the rapper’s life. “I’ve been pretty vocal about dealing with anxiety, but what’s changed now is I’m working through stuff with the music,” says Joey. “I needed some time to mature, and I’m keeping it realer this time around. It’s not all jokes.” He pauses, before giving a small smirk. “Ok, it’s still pretty funny, but it’s not all jokes.”
Joey Strikes Back
In contrast to when he began, Joey now sees himself as a veteran of the Icelandic rap scene. “All the rappers emerging are 17 or 19. They are super young and experience things for the first time,” he explains. “It isn’t that way for me. I’m 27. I’m engaged and have a dog and a B.A. in theatre. Last time I wasn’t really at that place, but time has brought me to where I want to be now.”
With time comes wisdom, and Joey is now less focused on outward validation, and more on how he’s feeling about his own music. “I have found what I want to do in music. When I did ‘Joey’, I was just doing something, I wasn’t sure. But now I know what I want and this is the kind of music I want to make.” He smiles. “It’s the end of an era and the start of an era.”
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