Joyner Lucas: Socially Conscious Hip-Hop

Joyner-Lucas-Photo Credit: Trevor Finney

Joyner Lucas is known for his lyricism and quick delivery. The rapper gained attention of millions of listeners with tracks like “Ross Cipicchioni” and “I’m Not Racist.” With the viral success of several tracks, the artist has been able to create a name for himself through his work as a songwriter, rapper, producer, and actor. Gary Maurice Lucas Jr. was born on August 17, 1988, in Worchester, Massachusetts. Young Joyner started rapping when he was 10-years-old and he originally began rapping under the stage name G-Storm. In 2007, Joyner performed on the stage as Future Joyner. He later teamed up with his uncle, Cyrus tha Great, to create music. “The Film Skool Rejekts”, as they were called, released the mixtape, Work: The Greatest Mixtape of All Time.

In 2011, Joyner released his first solo mixtape called Listen 2 Me. Joyner continued performing at small shows. A few years later he dropped the mixtape titled LFO (Low Frequency Oscillators) in October 2013. The 18-track mixtape features Joyner over multiple genres to make the project feel like his own. Not long after, Joyner released his mixtape Along Came Joyner. This mixtape featured the track “Ross Capicchioni” which captured fans and critics alike for its storytelling.

The recognition from Along Came Joyner allowed Lucas to make appearances at high-profile events. By the end of 2016, Joyner Lucas signed to Atlantic Records. He started gaining popularity due to his style of remixing hip-hop songs. Popular songs like Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and 21 Savage’s “Bank Account” gained millions of views on YouTube. On June 16, 2017, Joyner released 508-507-2209. The lead single from the mixtape titled “I’m Sorry” amassed millions of streams over multiple streaming platforms. Three other singles from the project, “Ultrasound”, “Just Like You”, and “Winter Blues” garnered tens of millions of streams as well. The 16-tracks also saw features from fellow artists Mystikal, Snoh Aalegra, and Stefflon Don.

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In November 2017, Joyner Lucas released “I’m Not Racist.” The timing of his lyrics and music video made the single go viral on digital platforms. The video amassed over 125 million views on YouTube alone. “I’m Not Racist” elevated Joyner’s stardom and continued the conversation of race relations within the United States. Joyner Lucas collaborated with Chris Brown on the mixtape Angels & Demons at the beginning of 2018. The album featured popular singles, “Stranger Things”, “Frozen”, and “I Don’t Die.” The passion of “Frozen” prompted many to see Joyner as an emotionally driven rapper. At the end of 2018, Eminem’s track “Lucky You” off of the album Kamikaze featured Joyner Lucas. The track made it on the Billboard Hot 100 list and created more media buzz around the up-and-coming artist.

Joyner Lucas released his debut studio album, ADHD on March 27, 2020. The 18-track album features Chris Brown, Timbaland, Logic, Young Thug, and Fabolous. Joyner combines his style of aggressive lyricism with fast tempos for several of the songs. The artist weaves a story throughout the album. The single “Will” highlights many of the roles that the actor Will Smith has portrayed and serves as homage to the actor. “Devils’ Work” connects Joyner Lucas back to previous tracks that evoke unapologetic emotion. Joyner has created a positive image for himself through delivering hard-hitting lyrics and bringing meaningful messages to the forefront. Without the need of sounding too preachy to others, he has released music that sets him apart in the industry as a modern-day role model. Joyner Lucas has brought several social issues to the forefront to make his fans think and carry on the conversation while enjoying and listening to his music.

Written by: Carlton Rolle

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