Joyner Lucas: ‘A lot of artists are afraid to be themselves’

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Joyner Lucas is a straightforward guy. But not in a way that makes him come across as abrasive or arrogant. He’s level headed about his vision. The Worcester, Massachusetts native knew from virtually the moment he began putting words together as a toddler that he wanted to put words together as an emcee. With a father that was a hip-hop producer, it became evident fairly quickly that young Joyner would take the way of rhyme.

“I was born in the studio. I knew I loved music,” Lucas explains. “I found my niche at, like, seven or eight. That’s when I knew I wanted to rap.”

He rhymed as “G-Storm” as a teenager before re-christening himself “Future Joyner” in 2007. Finally settling on his birth name, Joyner Lucas released Listen 2 Me in 2011. Today, he is one of the more talked about indie rappers in the game, and is basking in the critical acclaim of his sophomore project LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators). He’s released singles like “Words With Friends” and “Real Life” to tremendous buzz from hip-hop journalists, and his track “No Guarantees” is already attracting attention across the Web.  Through it all, he’s always been proud to rep for a state that hasn’t produced an over abundance of hip-hop superstars.
“There are a lot of talented cats in Massachusetts,” says Lucas. “There’s been a lot of promoters [who have] brought a lot of artists out there. It’s a really cool scene and a lot of talented cats that go unnoticed because there aren’t a lot of cats that have popped off from Mass for a lot of reasons. But it doesn’t take away from the talent.”

The key to his appeal seems to be the fact that Joyner Lucas presents himself as a “regular guy.” The rapper  isn’t afraid to push a Honda in his video and rap about food stamps.

“I’m not afraid to tell people how I’m living; if I’m f—– up in the game or if I’m broke and if things ain’t right with my life,” he says. “I’m not trying to make everything this fantasy world about how I’m living this lavish life that I’m not really living. A lot of artists are afraid to be themselves and afraid to tell people what it really is.”

“I just love music, in general. I love art. I love putting together s— that inspires people. It’s really about the feeling that I get from doing music for me. Different music makes you feel different things and if I can make music that people gravitate towards for whatever reason or because it made them feel a certain way then that’s what’s important to me.”

“I just stay true to myself,” says Lucas. “Not a lot of artists do that nowadays. I think that’s what sets me apart from other people and gets me respected at the end of the day.”

Stereo Williams
Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

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