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Joyner Lucas - ADHD (Album Review)

Joyner Lucas' debut album 'ADHD' is here after arguably the worst roll out of an album in music history. I respect him for trying something different, but he lost a lot of hype with the way he went about - releasing over half the album as singles and waiting so long to drop it. From the singles, I had some hope going into this album, but I was weary based off what other people had said about his music - but was they just hating for no reason or did they have a point? I think they were hating, because half of their complaints just didn't appear during this album. Starting with the production, it's pretty hit or miss. The production feels very trap like with booming 808s very prevalent. Some beats are great while other are tasteless and often bland - however there's definitely more hits than misses. Joyner Lucas is a decent lyricist but I don't think he's the top tier lyricist he thinks he is - and it feels at times he's trying to prove he is which can be off-putting. Occasionally he hits us with a corny punchline and sometimes his flexing can be generic and lazy, but it isn't fair to say he doesn't have some good lines. His flow was decent for the most part but sometimes he finds himself also falling into the boring flow lane. Another big criticism of Joyner's rapping is his weak delivery - but I think that's a myth. His delivery isn't the hardest, and sometimes it comes across as weak for a few tracks but most of the time it suits the theme of the song and isn't an issue. The features too are very hit and miss, with some being great such as Logic, and others not bringing much to the table. We're greeted with four skits on this album, and two of them reinforce the theme of ADHD well while the other two are random, boring and just completely unneeded. Finally, to the content. Sometimes he can put himself above other rappers when talking about his sobriety - which can also come off as a little corny. He mostly focuses on his past life and his come up, but the ADHD theme isn't as common amongst the project as I would've hoped for. There is content here, but I don't think it has as much substance as Joyner thinks.

After a skit, the tracklist begins with the song 'I Lied (Intro)', where Joyner talks on being a rich man now and how that's changed him. The song is partnered with some booming 808's, and is a fine introduction - but the only issue I have is when he starts shouting during the hook - it comes off as a little weak. The next track, 'Isis', is great and one of the best songs of 2019. Joyner himself is solid over some decent strings and 808s, but it's his feature Logic who after such a bad 2019 drops one hell of a verse. Lyrically, he drops us some hard lines with a killer flow and the flow switches keep things very refreshing to create such a great song. 'The War' has a surprising feature from Young Thug, and despite it sounding decent it just came off as a bit of a half arsed performance. The beat goes hard as the rappers talk on their struggle forming relationships with girls, it sounds good as Joyner gives us a more melodic approach to the track. Another one of the million singles, 'I Love' is another highlight on the album. The production goes hard, there's nothing lyrically crazy but Joyner has a few decent punchlines - but despite this I can find you a key example of the occasional corny punchline he has, "All of y'all n***** gon' bleed (Bleed) // Guess it's that time of the month". Yep, another single titled 'Devil's Work' is another highlight - I'm surprised with how this album has started. Joyner questions God's decisions in this track, and while I don't agree on his stance of trading life for life, you can tell he means every word from his delivery, "Give us 2Pac back, and take that n**** Suge (Ooh!) // Let the legend resurrect and he gon' live for good (Ooh!)".

The beat isn't great on this track, but I'm more focused on the lyrics here. The first easy skip of the album is 'Lotto'. It doesn't sound too bad, but it's a bit generic and a prime example of his weak delivery because he's talking mean with zero aggression. The flows decent, and the beat ain't bad it's just a little played out now. The next song 'Gold Mine' is the worst of the album. The beat is bland and tasteless, while Joyner's flow and delivery deliver such little energy that it's boring and the whole song is a snooze. Chris Brown partners Joyner Lucas on 'Finally' and while his vocals are nice - there's nothing special about the hook. Joyner himself is just meh, and the song is just a bit mid. We get back on track with '10 Bands' which is produced by Timbaland, who kills the beat with it's bouncy, catchy cadence which carries Joyner's flow nicely. The hook is extremely catchy, as are the verses - making it one of the best songs on here. On the next track 'Revenge' (another single *shock*) we're greeted by an eerie sounding piano which fits the atmosphere well but isn't interesting. The hook is catchy, but other than that the track just falls short due to the long verses which have an uninteresting flow, delivery and lyrics. Joyner is more vulnerable on the title track 'ADHD' as he talks about his struggles with the disorder over a nice beat with great 808s. This song even gives us some of the more impactful bars on the project.

'Still Can't Love' is another low point of this album, where we get another light feeling beat that falls into the bland category. The song seems out of place compared to the rest of the album, because it sounds a more melodic trap banger. King OSF has some nice melodies, but he isn't overally interesting while Fabolous' verse is just weak. Joyner himself doesn't bring much to the table, so the song is a disappointment on this tracklist. On 'Will', Joyner Lucas pays homage to his idol Will Smith and references many of his film which are fun references to catchy. The beat is decent and bouncy but I just don't know how often I will return to this song. The album finishes on a high note with 'Broke and Stupid'. It's lyrically the strongest song on this album because he's spitting some facts with some decent punchlines weaved in. The soul beat is great too, the strings collide with the 808s well and it's just a really good ending to the album.

To conclude, I don't get the hate with this project because to me, I think it's decent. While lyrically it's not elite, it's not as corny as people make it out to be and sonically it sounds good. I will conclude that the first half is much stronger than the second half, and it takes a hit in the second half but I will still continue to check out future projects from Joyner.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: I Lied (Intro), Isis, The War, I Love, Devil's Work, 10 Bands, ADHD, Broke and Stupid


OVERALL RATING: Light 6.5/10

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