Photo courtesy Tweny Nine Music Group

Joyner Drops Disappointing Debut

Grammy-nominated rapper Joyner Lucas shares his debut album, “ADHD,” with the world

Grammy-nominated rapper Joyner Lucas shares his debut album, “ADHD,” with the world

Joyner Lucas, the 31-year-old rapper, first caught traction with his 2015 music video, “Ross Capicchioni.” In the video, Lucas reimagined the true story of a gang initiation gone wrong that nearly claimed the life of a high school student.

The video’s success can be attributed to the unique strategy Lucas chose, taking on both the perspective of the victim and the criminal. Lucas has managed to keep his name relevant over the years with a string of viral music videos, including the critically praised “I’m Not Racist” and the polarizing “Devil’s Work.”

Humboldt State University alumnus De’Aundray Gooden has been a fan of Lucas since “Ross Capicchioni.”

“I think he brings a lot of awareness to certain subjects people don’t feel comfortable talking about,” Gooden said.

Gooden’s favorite Joyner Lucas songs are “I’m Sorry” and “Devil’s Work.” The first track follows a suicide note as it’s being written into the hands of the victim’s brother or cousin. In the latter song, Lucas calls out to God, questioning his choices in the young men and women he’s chosen to take.

“We don’t pay attention to people until they die,” Gooden said. “We need to pay attention to the people who are alive, and appreciate them for what they’re doing now.”

Lucas also racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube over a short series of remixes, between 2016 and 2018, and eventually caught the attention of rap god Eminem. Lucas secured a spot on the highest performing song from 2018’s “Kamikaze,” “Lucky You.” The high-tier rapping ability that earned Lucas the legendary co-sign has also contributed to beef with platinum-selling rapper Logic and R&B singer Tory Lanez. The beefs have since been squashed, both resulting in gained exposure and new content, including the third single from “ADHD,” “ISIS,” featuring Logic.

HSU’s soccer goalkeeper, Tab Heinz, is a fan of old school hip-hop, and appreciated Lucas’ meaningful lyrics and authentic sound.

“I appreciate the older stuff a little bit more than the newer stuff,” Heinz said. “I like the older style of making music. He has a super cool flow and rhyme scheme. I like the way he doesn’t sound too mainstream. He kinda has more of the underground style.”

Lucas followed up “ISIS” with the rags to riches track, “Broke and Stupid.” The song paints a picture of all the hard work that has paid off for Lucas. With no chorus, it still competes for best song on the album. Apparently unready to release the project, Lucas proceeded to drop five more singles over the next nine months, at least three of which would’ve been better off left for the album.

Just two days before the release of “ADHD,” Lucas dropped his ninth single, “Will,” along with another viral music video paying homage to Will Smith. With four skits on the album, including voicemails from Chris Tucker and Kevin Hart, Lucas left fans with a total of five new songs out of 18 on the album.

Fans were given hope, with features from R&B legend, Chris Brown, industry favorite, Young Thug, and veteran-rapper, Fabolous, that “ADHD” would deliver. Unfortunately, out of the five new songs, only the “I Lied” intro track lives up to the hype. Brown and Thug’s features on “Finally” and “The War” are the most memorable moments of the remaining new tracks.

After two years of waiting, as Tucker points out in his skit, and with how much of the project we had already been teased leading up to the official release, the anticipation for “ADHD” worked to its detriment. Despite Lucas arguably not producing a bad single, anything less than greatness from all of his new efforts on the album would’ve been a letdown. With most of the new content generating nothing to write home about, fans will be disappointed. Those just now discovering Lucas are much more likely to enjoy what “ADHD” has to offer.

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