In case you haven’t heard, Meek Mill Day is a thing in Connecticut now and the Philly-based rapper was gifted a key to the city of Hartford. I won’t sit here behind the keys of my computer and claim for a second I know what that all means. And I have no intention, for better or worse, of doing the research to put myself on to the logistics of the whole thing. But I have a feeling it has a lot more to do with publicity and namesake than anything else, so it’s really not a matter one should take to heart.
That being said, if you’re from CT – which I am – you can probably pick up a pen and compose a laundry list of individuals who have done a whole lot more for Connecticut than Meek has or ever will. And, in my circle, I think there’s a general consensus that one man would find his name at – or at the very least near – the top of most of our lists.
From the music to the kids to the charitable and everything in between, the elder of gawds has given his blood, sweat and tears to Connecticut in general and Hartford in particular for the better part of 10+ years. Having migrated from NY to CT, he planted new roots in the state and never looked back. If you know him, chances are he’s gone out of his way to help you in some form or fashion. If you don’t know him personally, then you most likely know someone who’s been blessed by his kindness. And, if neither of those apply to you, then you’ve damn sure seen his mug on a sticker at some point in time.
Of course, I’m speaking on Joey Batts.
Putting my personal bias aside (to the best of my abilities), Joey has literally sacrificed so much of himself in order to help create a better today and ensure a better tomorrow for countless people across Connecticut. And, while I’m sure he appreciates the newspaper articles and general daps from the public, he’s done it all without turning his back on the people when his good deeds go unnoticed. The shine is nice but I genuinely believe Batts invests his time, money, energy and emotional well-being into so many humanitarian projects because he cares about people – not just his friends, who he’d do pretty much anything for, but strangers as well. Case in point is Hip-Hop for the Homeless, his brainchild that continues to grow and provide for the less fortunate every year.
To be honest, I sat down to finally write about Joey’s 7 Deadly Sins: The Manifesto but something caused some dots to connect and now felt like as good a time as any to sing Mr. Batts’ praises. Let Meek have the key, it is what it is. But let’s give the people in our everyday lives who put on for Hartford and for CT their flowers while they can still smell them.
Anyway, 7 Deadly Sins: The Manifesto contains 28 tracks that have been released by Joey over the course of the last ten years, dating back to when Batts was 24. The project is an absolute trip to listen to if you’ve been a fan of Joey’s music, as it provides a firsthand look into his evolution and growth over the course of his 7 Deadly Sins saga. The project includes features from Rudy, Cre8, N.M.E. the ILLEST and more.
If you’re looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night, or if you’re an artist looking for a spot to book a show, get familiar with The Royal. Recently opened by Batts and his business partner, Laurie, The Royal is a venue located in Hartford that has opened its doors to all creatives looking for a space that’s friendly to all sounds, styles, personalities and creeds.
Preview the 7 Deadly Sins compilation below.