Words by The Kid Skoob
What were you doing between the ages of seven and 10 years old? The answer most likely revolves around your favorite toys, games, cartoons and/or sports. However, things were a little different for rising MC Joyner Lucas, who actually wrote his first rap at 7 and recorded his first song by the age of 10.
RELATED: Watch The BET Hip-Hop Awards Cyphers 2015
Now 25, Lucas set the world ablaze with his recent appearance on BET’s Hip-Hop Awards, where he perforated “Seven Minutes Of Funk” with lines about everything from Magic Johnson to Meek Mill, letting the world know that Joyner Lucas is an MC that you need to pay attention to. The Worchester, Massachusetts native sat with us to discuss his current ascension in Hip-Hop, how it all began, where he’s headed, as well as what we can expect in the very near future.
WatchLOUD: Things are kinda crazy for you now, after the BET Cypher.
Joyner Lucas: Yeah man. I jumped on the cypher and the world got to hear Joyner Lucas. Now it’s all about maintaining the grind. A lot of other artists are reaching out, so the awareness is really there now. It’s dope! I knew that if I was gonna do this, I’m gonna be disrespectful wit’ it. And the response has been exactly what I knew it’d be when I wrote the verse. It’s been all positive.
WL: You started rapping at seven years old and did your first record at 10. Tell me about that record and what could you possibly be rapping about at that age?
JL: Well my pops was a producer [Gary Lucas, Sr.], so I was pretty much around music the entire time. But man, I was just spittin’ [laughs]. Just rapping about kids’ stuff [laughs]; you don’t really know too much at that age, so it was all about imagination. I always wrote my own rhymes, so he made the beat and we did the record – I actually found it. He had it hidden, but we were able to find it, which was dope.
WL: And you were rapping under the name G-Storm at the time. Where did that come from?
JL: My dad actually came up with that name for me. I dunno where he got it from [laughs]. I dunno where/how he came up with it, but I just rocked with it. He was very instrumental in my career until I was about 16, and then I started doing it on my own. He’s pretty much how I got started. A lot of people don’t have their fathers, so it meant a lot to me that he was right there and pushing me along the way. He was a great influence.
WL: You eventually changed your name to Future Joyner.
JL: Yup! My cousin came up with that name and I just ran with it. But then I just felt, man, lemme just call myself what it is: Joyner Lucas, that’s it! We were in a group together, but it didn’t really work out. I didn’t wanna be in a box and just wanted to do my own thing. My uncle was the producer [Cyrus the Great] and we’re still pretty tight. He produced the next record that’s about to go viral – I’m calling it right now! As soon as the video comes out, I’m telling you it’s gonna be bananas!
WL: I believe you. Your visuals have been dope! What’s making you go about them in this manner, as opposed to the typical bottle-popping-twerk fest we’re so used to seeing in rap videos?
JL: Umm, I’m not really about that life. I’m not about that club life. I’m not about that party life. In addition to that, a lot of artists feel like they have to do records like that, because that’s what everybody wants to hear. A lot of artists only make music like that because they’re trying to cater to a fan base that already exists. There are many different people out there that into many different things. What you’re seeing is really my personality and a lot of the way that I think and the way that I am, in my music videos. That’s really what it is, you know? I don’t smoke weed. I don’t turn up. You barely run into people like that.
WL: So how do you balance that: maintaining who you are, but still embracing the things that come along with becoming a star rapper?
JL: To me it’s not really star power. I don’t really feel star power. This is just what I love doing, you know? I just love creating music. I love creating visuals. I love giving people something that makes them feel something. I really like the playback value. I like coming out with stuff that really separates me from the next man. When you hear Joyner Lucas, you’re getting Joyner Lucas. That’s who you’re getting. You’re not getting anybody else but me! I wanna make an impression on people. I want people that listen to me, to be like, yo this is Joyner Lucas. You come into the Joyner Lucas store, that’s what you’re gonna get and that’s the only place you’re gonna get it.
WL: Talk to me about “Ross Capachioni” because his story is a pretty crazy.
JL: When I heard his story, I knew I had to do something. When I heard the song, I didn’t even care how long it was. I just knew it was gonna do some damage. I went against the grain and standard of three minute songs.
I just wanted to be creative with the visual. I also shot it from both point of views so that nobody could really say anything negative at all about it.
WL: And this is part of the Along Came Joyner project, where you pretty much went at it solo and without many features. Talk to me about that.
JL: It’s a story driven project. I’ve got a lot of different type of records on there, all unique in their own way. And with people coming to hear me, I didn’t wanna have a bunch of features. I wanted people to hear me. I kinda wanted to carry my own weight. When you listen to Joyner Lucas, I want you to get Joyner Lucas, not Joyner Lucas and friends.
WL: I saw that you and Boi-1da are looking to work together.
JL: Yeah man. He hit me up on twitter and he’s a fan. We ended up chopping it up and was really just like, “Yo let’s do something!” I’m really just like, wow, because that means a lot to me. He’s produced some of the biggest records for people like Eminem, Drake, and the list just goes on and on. We’ll see how it works out, just as long as it’s organic. It can be an Ep, mixtape, who knows?!
WL: Dope. So what’s next for Joyner Lucas?
JL: I’ve got this Ep that’s about to come out within the next week or two, it’s called “Hollywood.” After that, it’s time to get started on this joint with Boi-1da. I also have a couple more dope visuals about to drop. This record I’m doing with Royce Da 5’9; that video is gonna be dope! I directed it, so I can’t wait specifically for that one to drop.