The first time I’d ever heard of Joyner Lucas was when I saw his BET cypher with Charles Hamilton. Then I heard his Panda remix and almost fuckin’ shit myself. That shit blew my balls off. The thing is… I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard an original song from Joyner. I’ve heard parts of some songs like I’m Not Racist and I’m Sorry, but this’ll pretty much be my first time listening to any of his shit. I’m expecting this to be really fucking great. It’s probably gonna be one of my favorite releases from 2017. Or maybe not. Who knows.
Lovely Nox Beatz
FYM Feat. Mystikal Boi-1da
Keep It 💯 Nox Beatz
Winter Blues The Cratez
Just Like You Boi-1da, Dawaun Parker
Just Because Chill Shump, Nox Beatz
Lullaby Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, Dawaun Parker
Way to Go Feat. Snoh Aalegra Statik Selektah, Nox Beatz
Look What You Made Me Do Feat. Stefflon Don Lord Quest
We Gon’ Be Alright The Cratez
Forever Boi-1da, Allen Ritter, Joyner Lucas
I Need More Boi-1da, Nineteen85
Literally Boi-1da, Nox Beatz
I’m Sorry The Cratez
One Lonely Night Decap, Nox Beatz
The tape begins with a voicemail recording from a British woman complaining to Joyner about certain frustrations she has with him. I could’ve done without that shit. It just sounds really contrived. At first I thought the inauthenticity had something to do with her accent, but it’s really just a result of the her incompetence as a voice actress. That’s extreme nitpicking tho. Any concerns I initially had were expelled the moment Joyner opened his mouth. He has one of the most impressive flows I’ve ever heard. His superlative sense of cadence allows him to get away with some relatively questionable lyrics.
Damn, I need a massage
Where the gay bitches when I need a ménage?
She said she got a porn tape that I needed to watch
And I remember days where I couldn’t even get by
Whenever his flow takes off he makes Tech N9ne sound like… Um… An uzi? I don’t know… I’m a pacifist, so I don’t have an extensive knowledge of automatic weaponry. Are uzi’s faster than TEC-9s? Basically, I’m trying to say Joyner Lucas’ flow is slightly more impressive than that of Tech N9ne.
The hook & bridge on Lovely definitely could’ve been better, but he snapped on that final verse. It’s a flawed song, but he rapped well enough for it to be enjoyable overall. Mystikal’s verse on the song FYM was hilarious to me.
I’M COOLA THANNA CUPPA YOOOOOGURT
That’s not even that fucking cold lmao. I enjoyed his feature, and the production from Boi-1da was cool, but Joyner recycles the same flow for both of his verses, which makes the song feel overly long. The album’s first major highlight is definitely Keep It 100. He tells a story from the perspective of a 100 dollar bill, exposing some of the fucked up shit people will do for financial gain.
Winter Blues is another standout track. The production is fantastic and Joyner slaughtered it. The only facet of the song I wasn’t particularly fond of was the hook. My main issue with it is the way he whispers “SHHH, be quiet; they coming.” It was just kinda corny to me. However, this is just another nitpick. As a whole the song is really dope.
The album reaches it’s first true dud on the next track, Just Like You. He employs an oddly distorted vocal effect to sing the hook, and it sounds annoying as fuck. The production is nice, and the song’s not bad lyrically, but the way the hook is mixed is way too jarring. It kinda reminds me of the hook from FLY by Hopsin, so you already know I’m not feelin’ it.
Chill Shump & Nox Beatz flip the sample from Jazzy Belle by Outkast for the song “Just Because.” It’s not really my cup of tea. My issue has more to do with the content than any objective musical flaw. I just don’t really have any interest in Joyner’s relationship status. The 6 minute length of this song definitely didn’t do it any favors either. The song Lullaby is dope af. It’s super emotional, but it’s done well enough for it to not seem like he’s pandering to a “fake deep” audience. On each verse he raps from the perspective of a neglected child, an abused girlfriend, and a heroin addict, respectively. It gets better with every verse.
You sucked the soul out of my body with your own intentions
When you told me that you loved me, boy, I know you meant it
Now I’m stuck inside a life of prostitution, no discretion
And all you do is beat my ass, and leave me slowly breathless
Snoh Aalegra sounded good singing the chorus on Way to Go, and the production from Statik Selektah & Nox Beatz was nice. My only complaint is in regards to the pacing; the pastor’s monologue really just feels like a waste of time. Maybe if you’re religious you’ll feel differently, but as an agnostic atheist it just felt unnecessary. The piano elements in the production sounded fantastic tho. Look What You Made Me Do houses a feature from Stefflon Don, a female MC from London. I’d never heard of her until listening to this project, but I’m definitely expecting to hear more from her in the future because she can rap. We Gon’ Be Alright was a decent song, but the glitzy hook was a major turn off for me. Joyner was rapping well, but sonically it just isn’t for me. Forever is basically Joyner’s spiritual successor to Lost Ones by J. Cole. It’s like hearing the male perspective a couple years after the birth of his child, who he tried so desperately to get aborted.
Never wanted a broken home to raise you from a distance
Yeah, I’ll admit it; I was scared of that type of commitment
Even hopes of a miscarriage; anything bad that could happen
That’d get me out of that situation; I was livid
The song is over 5 and a half minutes long, and the slow production definitely doesn’t do it any favors, but overall it’s an enjoyable track.
The hook on I Need More was kinda shitty. It sounded like a poor attempt of recreating a Migos hook. He actually ends up talking shit about those who only rap about money and material possessions, which could’ve resulted in a condescending, judgmental tone, but he managed to pull it off. The production was dope too.
You just shit on everyone who’s stuck in a rut
Always flash your money out in public and stunt
And we all just look at you in fucking disgust
Maybe you’re just insecure with no luck
Track 14 has Joyner rapping about a dick. He personifies his own cock as a douchebag who basically has the personality of Donald Trump. It’s pretty fuckin’ crazy.
Love a bitch that’ll suck me and swallow your kids up
Kiss me on my eyes while she tyin’ her hair up
Then give a massage as I lay it down
Shit I could do this all night, I don’t play around
My nigga you don’t ever take your time so it never lasts
You sabotage every chick I ever had
And you willin’ to say whatever just to get some
You better hope that I don’t ever fuckin’ catch none
I wasn’t sure about the hook at first due to the vocal effects, but it grew on me in seconds. That’s not a pun. The production is fantastic, and the skit at the end in which he literally chops his cock off made my jaw drop.
I’m Sorry is the song Logic wish he made with 1-800-273-8255—this whole mixtape makes Logic look like an amateur tbh; the first verse proves that Joyner has a far more elaborate understanding of what it’s like to struggle with depression and suicidality.
I don’t need no one feeling bad for me
Trying to offer me pity and throw jabs at me
Wanna give me advice and then laugh at me
Behind closed doors, just close the door
I’m sure Logic’s song did a lot for a select portion of the population who feel hopeless and disenfranchised, but, as someone who has tried to kill himself, this song is far more relatable to me.
Would you feel lost without me?
‘Cause honestly I think the world is better off without me
The hook really gives me the impression that Joyner was suicidal at some point in his life because it’s like he went back in time and read my mind as I was penning my suicide letter.
Make sure you tell my family it’s okay
I’m sorry, but it’s too late
I’m sorry, so much weighing on me
I don’t wanna live to see another day
I’m sorry, but I can’t stay
The second verse switches to the perspective of the suicide victim’s friend. It wasn’t until recently that I realized why certain people respond to suicide with anger. The frustration comes from a lack of understanding, so it makes sense. Obviously if I don’t understand what someone’s going through, I’m gonna be confused when they decide to give up on themselves. Logic tried his best and he had good intentions, but Joyner’s take on the subject is superior in pretty much every way.
The album ends with the song One Lonely Night; it starts off as celebratory, yet cathartic piano ballad, eventually transitioning into an upbeat Hip Hop instrumental, concluding in a long, optimistic verse. That sex slave line was kinda fucked up, but the verse was dope.
508 (507)-2209 is a flawed, yet creative project from one of the most exciting new artists of the current generation.
Favorite Song: I’m Sorry
Least Favorite Song: Just Because
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this mixtape