Joyner Lucas released his latest album, “Evolution” today (10/23/20). “Evolution” is a master crafted set of songs lined up to tell a story of Joyner Lucas’ life. The message is powerful, tackling everything from Racial Inequality, the power of self, life goals, growing, and the truth beyond the exterior.
Joyner Lucas spoke adamantly about the album, hoping that it would be a classic, furthering his case of Greatness among lyrical rappers. Earlier in 2020, Eminem placed Joyner Lucas as one of the all-time GOATs. Here at Lyrically Rap, we agree with the sentiment. Joyner Lucas is a GOAT. Now, is this album full of the greatest songs he has ever made? We’ll let you decide.
“Evolution” the album is lined up creatively. Its an evolution of Joyner Lucas’ life, each song showing a different theme in his come up. The lyrics through “Evolution” are truthful, deep, and flow hard in the way only Joyner Lucas can spit.
The story is what I found so interesting, becoming my muse for this article.
I hope I am somewhere near the truth in the following writings. The truth may be my own. We each reflect our lives into the music we hear, connecting with the artist, shaping the meaning to situations around us.
When I Grow Up
“Evolution” introduces us to young Joyner Lucas, probably in the fourth or fifth grade. His teacher, who we later find out is a straight B-word, is talking to the class about what they want to do when they grow up. Evidently, Joyner thought what the other kids were all saying was bullshit, and he was not having it. He opens the album telling the teacher, what he wanted to be. Setting up the story for the rest of the album. How he’s going to get it, his challenges to get it, and what its like once he’s got it. You all ready?
This is Joyner Lucas at the beginning of his journey. This is him making his mind right. Evolving from his mistakes and finding the right paths to take. “Evolution” is a song of growth that we can all take encouragement from. This song embodies what it means to grow the fuck up and man up.
“It’s time to grow.”
On This Way
the Game & Iyla
I feel like this song represent the struggle. The struggle of life and roadblocks that are presented throughout your road to glory. Not only does this song represent the struggle of Joyner Lucas’ life, but every person that suffers persecution for their differences. This song represents the path that could have been taken, where you could have been if you still were doing that dumb shit. It’s the shadow of life where you succumbed to fear of failing to succeed.
Things I’ve Seen
The struggle of life, hatred, and pursuit of better things. Joyner Lucas speaks a soulful series of lyrics relating to the struggles of the Black Woman, Black Man, and the Black Lives Matter movement. This is their struggle. This is Joyner Lucas. It is the hurdles, the things he’s seen, things that break people, but the message is the struggle to keep trying. To keep the movement forward. To have hope and believe. The struggle is not eternal.
We jump into a change of pace here with “Zim Zimma”, it’s the first song we find that’s upbeat and vibey. We felt the struggles before, the challenges to do what was right, but at this point I think Joyner has had enough of the bullshit. This is him at the beginning of the fame. He’s got the money. He doesn’t give a shit. He’s partying, flipping the bird to the system. He’s seen too much shit, he’s feeling himself and enjoying the time. This is the classic “I do what I want” phase in Joyner’s life.
Flashback to little Joyner in his elementary classroom. Joyner showing that don’t give a f’ mentality, mouthing Corey in sandbox, when little Kristine snitches on Joyner. The teacher lays it out straight, telling them “Snitches Get Stiches”. Now we at the good stuff. This is where we are setting up our dramatic headline. Joyner Lucas straight up calling Tekashi 6ix9ne in the next song for being a snitch.
“Snitch” was released before the album release. We had a week to sample the song before the album, and instantly every media outlet questioned whether Joyner Lucas was calling Tekashi 6ix9ine. Joyner never officially says 6in9ine’s name, but this one mention led us down an “Hardly Boys” investigation.
“Free Bobby Shmurda!”
I’m one to believe every word on a track is there for a reason. So, we got to asking who is this Bobby Shmurda guy? Long story short, he was involved in some gang activity, got busted and was able to snitch to get out of prison. Word is, he did not snitch, and served his time without parole because of his unwillingness to snitch. Bobby is due for release later in 2021.
How’s Bobby Shmurda connect to Tekashi 6ix9ine though? Tekashi being the reality star drama queen that he is, loves to spout off names in the media to get more coverage for himself. He’s THE known snitch, and like misery, he wanted someone else to share his snitch status company. You know, how he saying Snoop snitched, as if to justify what he did. Tekashi adamantly claims that Bobby Shmurda did in fact snitch in multiple interviews, fueling tension between the parties.
In essence, Joyner Lucas wrote this song from two perspective. The snitch, Tekashi 6ix9ine, and the dude who didn’t say a word, Bobby Shmurda. If the ending is ending speculation to what’s happening out there on the streets, then shits about to get real.
Str8 Like Dat
Through all the challenges, strife, and rebellious phase, Joyner Lucas finally makes it. His mind clears from the fog of the early twenties, where he spent all his time grinding and getting to where he is now. He’s coming onto thirty, he’s seeing his goals materialize, but he’s watching his life change. What he wanted before is not the same as what it was before. He’s beginning to understand what it means to live. Even the beat is a refreshing sigh, like damn, we made it.
Joyner Lucas is settling down, finding his soul mate, finding love, but its still young and they still crazy as fuck. We got to see the video for this song a month or so ago. We made a post about it. This video cracks me up because its just straight up real. This what its like being in crazy love. Through all of the fame, Joyner still has his cracks. He has found someone to fill those cracks, and he feels theirs. Regardless of how powerful, famous, a person always needs the rocks for support.
“The Problem”. Then there’s always a problem when everything seems perfect. That point when a man must decide what is more important. The fame? Money? Is the time spent trying to get all that as important as the time lost with your kids? Wife? Family? Making those memories?
Now we’re nearing the end, the latest Segway of Joyner’s life. He’s made it. He’s been called one of the best. He’s a living legend, working to remain true to himself. It’s the final mantle of the story he wanted for his life. He’s achieved everything he’s wanted right? So why doesn’t the album end there? Something missing. We didn’t get the full story.
He’s a legend, but there’s something still broken, the true self, the beating amber that lays at the heart of Joyner Lucas.
We find out that Miss Teacher is not holding back any punches in fifth grade. Her statement was some cold ass shit. “You Only Get One Dad”. Luckily, Joyner had his step dad, his real dad.
Like a River
The last song, and probably my favorite of the whole album. I feel like the entire story culminates right here. In the beginning, he said he wanted to be rich, the boss, famous. But everything he was doing was just an attempt to connect with his dead-beat father.
I may be reaching, but as someone who shares similar feelings regarding childhood, I can feel the pain deep down in the heart. It’s the pain of not feeling good enough, and that sensation that anything you do, you never will be, and you can never understand.
In the end, what we are saying outward might not always be the true message inwards. Be nice to others. You can have everything in the world, but there will still be pain. Hurt. The strongest message to take from Joyner Lucas is that it is alright to accept that pain. Acknowledge it and do something about it. Step up. Change your life. Do better for your kids, and listen. Take the time to fucking listen.
Is this album a classic? After writing this, and listening through it a second time, yes, it is a classic and will be talked about for some time to come. It’s the story and struggle. Its life in music form and I want to thank Joyner Lucas for releasing it to the world. If Joyner Lucas did pass, this album would be replayed as a remembrance of his life, his Evolution.