Every year a pack of skillful, hungry, and ridiculously nice MCs add to the endless list of rhyme spittas that deliver gospel to the hip-hop nation. However, despite their level of skill, many of these under-the-radar rappers go unnoticed in an industry full of overrated rappers.
Now, Massachusetts rapper Joyner Lucas can be added to this list of MCs. In 2011, the unapologetic rapper released his debut album Listen 2 Me with only his own squad to help with the promotion. Despite the odds, his debut album garnered JL an impressive fan base. A year later, the Dead Silence LLC rapper cranked out his sophomore album Low Frequency Oscillators to much fanfare.
In spite of Lucas’ unique flow, witty rhymes, relatable subject matter and an instinct for vivid storytelling, his songs aren’t flooding the radio stations—which he often bashes for choosing flamboyant rappers over introspective MCs. So, we’ve complied a list of Lucas’ songs that you should get familiar with before you go judging his book by its cover.
This profound track finds JL speaking from the perspective of a mixed race child who’s not accepted by his all-black friends while addessing subliminal racist messages and racist jokes.
“Finally Home” feat. Trae Tha Truth
On this Trae Tha Truth-assisted track, Joyner exercises all of the skills that make a dope MC—delivery, storytelling, metaphors and intriguing descriptions that makes one respect the underdog as if you’re watching your favorite Rocky flick.
It’s always refreshing when rappers offer listeners their life without the hollyhood exaggerations. This is what JL does on “Rock Bottom” as he raps,”I used to sale drugs, but I never moved weight….Never been a thug, but I am acquainted…”
“Words With Friends”
While in the studio, some of Lucas’ homeboys throw out words such as “swag,” “women,” “politics,” and “drugs,” to name a few. After every word, JL goes on a lyrical murder spree. He raps as if he stops, he’ll get bodied by the beat. “Words With Friends” makes one wish that Nas would make another “Book of Rhymes.”
Listeners ride down memory lane as Joyner checks off his favorite rappers and hip-hop albums from the past decade or so. And, this also shows that he’s a student of the game. The Massachusetts rapper also gives a surprising nod to CNN member Noreaga for inspiring him to be himself on the mic. JL even borrows the beat and hook from N.O.R.E.’s 1999 song, “Sometimes,” from then Melvin Flynt-Da Hustler album.
Lucas raps from a different perspective than the usual gangsta rapper . On “Negative Ego,” JL shows how talk from his preachers, doctors and family members affected his decision-making in a negative way.