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The social experiment ‘ADHD’ is a noteworthy debut for Joyner Lucas

<p>Joyner Lucas has transitioned from viral sensation to legitimate artist.</p>

Joyner Lucas has transitioned from viral sensation to legitimate artist.

Compared to mainstream rappers such as Drake, Eminem and Kanye West, Joyner Lucas may not be a household name. 

He is known for his quick delivery and self-driven lyrics, while also contrasting most of hip-hop’s common topics such as partying, drugs and women. He has garnered a following for the past five years with songs such as “Ross Capicchioni” and “Long Way.” In that time, he has released four mixtapes and featured on many artists’ songs, notably Eminem’s “Lucky You” in 2018.

While Joyner is gaining more notoriety every day, jumping up to roughly 7.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, he is generally known for two major bodies of work. His music video for his 2017 song, “I’m Not Racist,” has been viewed more than 137 million times on YouTube, eliciting a social commentary on racial tension between black and white Americans. 

Joyner has also remixed a plethora of popular rap songs such as Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and 21 Savage’s “Bank Account.” He discards the original lyrics and delivers rapid-fire lyrics, often boasting about his success and supremacy over other rappers in the game. “Gucci Gang (Remix)” and “Bank Account (Remix)” have amassed more than 76 million and 68 million views on YouTube, respectively. 

In October 2018, Joyner Lucas announced his next project. Last week, he released his debut studio album, “ADHD.” Obviously, quite a bit of time has passed since the Worcester, Mass., rapper teased the album. The question is this: Does it live up to the expectations hip-hop fans and his hardcore followers had about the LP?

The album breaks down like this: 18 tracks; nine of which were pre-released, four of which are “skits” and the remaining five of which are brand new songs. 

Joyner has repeatedly described himself as a storytelling rapper, and this is especially evident in “ADHD.” The opening track, “Screening Evaluation (Skit),” is a chilling start to the project that depicts Joyner in a session with an abusive mental health doctor. The doctor uses harsh language and continues to do so in “Comprehensive Evaluation (Skit)” later in the album. 

“ADHD” follows with some of Joyner’s signature hard-hitting lyrics on high-energy beats. “I Lied (Intro)” and “Isis ft. Logic” are great songs to listen to to get hyped up before a game (or a sales pitch if you are Dwight Schrute). “I Love,” the first single off the album released in late 2018, is another song that showcases Joyner’s hard-hitting lyrics.

The lyricism mixed with his delivery is fitting for hype songs, but there is a narrative element to his songs, too. “Devil’s Work” presents Joyner having a conversation with God about the premature deaths of rappers in the industry. Likewise, the lyrics to “Broke and Stupid” and the appropriately named “Revenge” depict the ‘I told you so’ mentality he has after dealing with haters and doubters all throughout his life. He further flexes his financial and social success with “Lotto” and Timbaland-produced “10 Bands,” two tracks that demonstrate his fast rapping skills exceptionally. 

One of the most intriguing tracks on the LP is “Will.” It is named after Will Smith, one of Joyner’s biggest inspirations as both a person and an entertainer. He purposefully raps about his idol with lyrics inspired by the actor’s many successful works throughout his life. The “Will” music video is the icing on the cake, showing Joyner moving through a movie set and changing costumes according to the many different characters Smith has played.

Joyner even tries his hand at singing in tracks like “The War ft. Young Thug” and “Finally ft. Chris Brown.” Unsurprisingly, his vocal talent is not as seasoned as his rapping and lyricism. Despite this, his rapping on these tracks is still top tier and the featured artists only add to the quality of each song.

So, what’s next for the Worcester rapper? 

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Due to the current novel coronavirus pandemic, he will not be going on tour any time soon. Although “ADHD” took almost two years to release, Joyner hinted via Instagram Live that more projects would be released in the coming months of 2020. 

And there is no better time for him to do so. 

Joyner’s debut album shows promise for the 31-year-old rapper. His allegiance to shaming drugs and being a role model for the youth will ultimately help him to spread a positive message and gain more fans along the way. 

He released an album that showcases his signature style and takes risks to expand it. Joyner Lucas is surely a name to watch this year. He has the potential to become as big as “Will” himself.

Rating: 7.7/10

@GillinNathan

gillinn@miamioh.edu



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