Joyner Lucas Raps Forwards & Backwards On A Crazy Freestyle
Over the last five years, Joyner Lucas has gone from a standout independent lyricist to a Grammy-nominated artist. The Worcester, Massachusetts native MC released ADHD to a Top 10 charting response, following “Best Rap Song” and “Best Music Video” Grammy nods for Eminem collaboration “Lucky You” and “I’m Not A Racist,” respectively.
However, as an artist who appeared in BET Hip Hop Awards cyphers before his Atlantic Records deal, Joyner is not above returning to his roots with a competitive attitude. He appeared on Funkmaster Flex’s freestyle platform to kick some bars in a truly unique fashion.
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“Backwords 2” is part of an ongoing series of challenges that Funk Flex is hosting. Following his recent exchange of words with Conway The Machine—which ended in a new freestyle, the HOT 97 mainstay has been tapping artists ranging from Busta Rhymes and Raekwon, to drop new music. In the case of Joyner Lucas, the artist hit the studio to deliver his results in person. DJ Premier’s “Nas Is Like” instrumental plays, as Joyner shows what his style is like. “I can rap backward, reverse, and back-to-front / ‘Cause I’m a rappin’ hustler, that’ll snatch ya lunches, I’m packin’ punches / Sellin’ crack to cousins / Heroin needles to acupuncture / Til’ your back is ruptured / Open it up, like a pack of mustard,” the MC begins. He then breaks into various battle bars. “Tell your favorite rappers I’m home, and back for supper / The day you beat me is the day Chilli get back with Usher / You spent your whole life try’na ball, but had no jumper / I can pass it and dunk it; I’m Dr. J when I’m at the Rucker.”
At 2:00 in, Joyner then takes the same words and reverses them for new meaning. For instance, now he raps, “Never had no jumper / Trying to ball and get back to supper / Eating bags of mustard / Back when Chilli got back with Usher / I’m your rapper’s favorite, bag of Gushers.” Moments later, he delivers: “Needles, heroin, acupuncture / When I’m packin’ punches / Rap it reverse, then back to frontwards.”
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For a second verse, Joyner does it again, this time to “Realest Ni**as,” the Red Spyda-produced posthumous Notorious B.I.G. and 50 Cent collaboration from the Bad Boys II soundtrack. The lyrics to the song have two meanings, in each respective sequence of bars. The display causes Flex’s diamond bracelet to unclasp after he pounds the table in the studio for emphasis.
This is not the first time Joyner has flexed this style. In 2015, he released “Backwords,” a concept video single that has reached nearly 5 million plays. Flex says he deliberately wanted this type of approach on Joyner’s challenge.
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Press photograph by Trevor Finney provided by Big Hassle.