There are too few spaces where Black men can speak freely and address the pressing issues that burden them. However, Joey Badass is determined to change that narrative with his latest initiatives.

Continuing his legacy of advocacy, social impact and philanthropy, the New York native held the inaugural IMPACT SUMMIT on June 1. This landmark event featured panels with distinguished program mentors and allies, and fostered discussions on topics designed to offer invaluable guidance for individuals at any stage of their career. Joey Badass also launched ImpactMENtorship, which provides free mentorship for men of color aged 18 and older across the United States, including Puerto Rico.

In a conversation with REVOLT, the star discussed his advocacy, whether mumble rap is dead, how his relationship with Serayah McNeill made him a better version of himself, Method Man’s comments about Summer Jam and more. Check out the exclusive interview below.

Creating dedicated spaces for men of color is both rare and essential. What makes ImpactMENtorship a safe and supportive environment, and why should men of color get involved?

Well, to start off, mentorship is very needed, especially in communities of color, because one of the things that we lack is resources. Mentorship provides not only resources, but exposure to different abundances of knowledge, information [and] skills that would otherwise be unknown or leaving people feeling a little bit unmotivated, as if they can't get into certain spaces. Mentorship is necessary right now.

What are some of the ways you see the initiative expanding in the years to come?

Well, my dream is — 20 to 30 years from now — to be able to look back and see some of the future leaders of tomorrow [who] have been directly influenced by this program. What we're doing with IMPACT is we're bringing people… to their dreams and giving them the opportunity, resources [and] connections to be able to really go for it. Halfway into the year, one of our mentees was invited to the writing room for “Power Book III: Raising Kanan,” [and] another mentee has been trailblazing social media with viral videos from being mentored by 19Keys.

My dream is for these guys to continue to take these gems they learn, these connections they've gotten through this program, and to take it to the moon. I'm trying to make a path for those who otherwise wouldn't have one. I didn't have a mentor outside of my parental unit or [the] people who were in my everyday life. Think of this like you’re playing Super Mario Bros., and this is a booster pack.

You've spoken openly about not completing high school. Do you believe that your program will inspire the next generation to pursue their education and strive for greater achievements?

Absolutely. One of the things that I love about our program is that we have eliminated typical barriers of entry like geography, education and age. It’s not about what level of education you have because that’s not a requirement to apply. For me, I don't have a degree [or] a diploma and look where I am. I don't say that to influence other kids to not finish school, but… to reassure people that school is not the end all, be all. Just because you don't have a degree or a diploma doesn't mean that you can't make it to far places, to far heights in life.

Who would you say are your mentors in music and in business?

That’s a good question. My mentor in music overlaps with business. I would say my manager because I’m always leaning on him or bouncing back ideas with him [about] moves that should be made and weighing out the positives versus the negatives. He's somebody who has a lot of skin in the game, you know what I mean? I look forward to his guidance and opinion.

If you could choose anyone in Hip Hop right now to mentor, who would it be?

I feel like the best way for [the mentorship relationship] to work is natural occurrences. I might know their song, think that they're cool or might have seen an interview, but I don't actually know their character. I think character is a big thing when it comes to a mentoring type of relationship.

Serayah McNeill was actively involved in the summit, capturing content and sharing her story. What has been the best part of your relationship with her?

I say one of the best parts about it is growing together. I think one of the main purposes of relationships is to have somebody who can see you, hold you accountable [and] push you to be the best and greatest version of yourself. These people are like your other half because you spend the most time with them, so who else would know better than them? They ultimately become like a reflection of you. So, as far as growing and evolving, I'm always up for that, and I feel like that's the best part of this relationship. I say that she is somebody who's always going to apply the things that she has learned, and she doesn't take certain knowledge, information or experience for granted. She applies it almost immediately and that’s one of my favorite things about her, for sure.

Can fans expect you two to produce some music together?

We've already made music together, and we'll continue to. We actually have a great one for the summer, too.

Hip Hop continues to expand into various avenues. Is there another professional lane you want to explore?

I want to be a director -- a film director, a music video director. I like to direct things and put things together and help other people execute their visions.

Last time you spoke with REVOLT, you mentioned interest in playing Big L in a biopic and bringing his story to light. Has there been any progress on that?

To be honest, I don't have any interest in playing, like, a rapper. I feel like it might be too close to who I already am, and I don't want to pigeonhole myself. While that was true, I feel like that is somebody who I would be able to play just based on looks. I just don't think it will be a good move for me, per se. I do hope that they do it, though.

You’re one of the best dressed men in the game. What’s your relationship with fashion and who are some of your inspirations?

My inspiration in fashion… I don't really think I have any inspiration in fashion. For me, it's all about self-expression. My looks reflect how I feel on any given day. I'm quite whimsical when it comes to dressing up. One day I might opt for a sharp, polished look, and the next, I might feel like embracing a more street-inspired vibe. I like to just keep it versatile and… match the energy of whatever my vibration is for today... To me, I feel like fashion is something that you go out and... indulge yourself in. I'm more on the style side, you know what I mean? I happen to — every now and again — find myself in these fashion spaces.

Given your tweet back in November stating, "F**k first week sales. They simply don’t matter anymore for the simple fact that no one is buying albums," how do you think the music industry's metrics for success should evolve in this streaming-dominated era?

Man, that's a great question. I feel like, ultimately, we have to find a way to give the power back to the artist. Streaming, at the time, took so much away from the artist and invited a lot of new tools and ideas to measure metrics and stats. Like I said in the tweet, it takes one person 1,500 streams on one album for it to be considered as an album sale. Fifteen years ago, all you had to do was buy an album, and that would be considered as an album sale, and nobody would know if you listened to it 15 times or if you listened to it once or at all. The game is definitely rigged into the favor of major label-backed artists, but I think the fans just got to do the best that they can to support the people who they actually f**k with... because that is probably the biggest plus and positive of today's music industry — you don't just have radio programming people predominantly anymore. People are actually free to choose the music that they want to listen to, and people actually have more resources to discover new artists.

Snoop Dogg shared his thoughts on the Kendrick Lamar-Drake feud, saying, "They made you rap again. You can't just mumble your way through songs anymore." Do you agree and what are your thoughts on the rivalry?

I don't agree. While it was a great moment for Hip Hop and rap, I don't think that mumble rap is dead. I think the mumble kids are gonna be fine, you know what I mean? The Kendrick and Drake battle didn't just kill mumble rap or kill whatever trap s**t or drill music and all of that s**t that's going on. I mean, it was great and for people who really appreciate rap, I think it was a moment for all of us, but that shouldn't move anything else out the way. I think it showed how much rap is a lost art unless you’re a mega superstar.

Method Man said he won't be performing at Summer Jam again due to the audience’s “generation gap.” How do you navigate performing for diverse age groups? Do you think Summer Jam can still cater to both old and new-school fans?

No, I don’t believe Summer Jam can cater to old and new fans. I think it's less about a generation gap and… more about pop culture and what's trending because I think artists like me will have a hard time at Summer Jam as well. I'm not like the mainstream guy with all of the trendy songs. I’m more of a niche artist. Old school rap is becoming more niche because it's no longer the popular thing. It was popular at a point in time, but that time has gone. I think it's less about a generation gap and just more about what the mainstream is accepting.

When can we expect a new project from you?

Sometime this year — a lot of special collaborations, but I don’t want to ruin anything yet.