Not Now I'm Busy

Not Now I'm Busy

There’s a defiance to Joyner Lucas’ second studio album. There’s the cover art, which features the rapper staring into the camera, teeth housed in gold, face covered in blood. Then there are the song titles, which include “Fake Promises,” “Sticks & Stones,” “Three Little Pigs,” “24 hours to live,” and more. Since he went viral with the release of his provocative 2017 single “I’m Not Racist,” Lucas has been through it: He’s lost friends, been abandoned by family, and seen those he trusts roll over willingly. At least that’s how he tells it on Not Now I’m Busy. And yet Lucas has all he needs: a microphone and his preternatural gift with the pen. Take the aforementioned “Sticks & Stones,” which features Conway the Machine from the Griselda collective. Over a head-nodding drum groove and a soul sample that would fit mightily well on a Conway album, Joyner brings his style close to his collaborator’s. He’s chameleonic in this sense, but his bars still cut with that Lucas precision. He raps, “Ain't nothin' worse than havin' love for n****s with twisted souls/The ones you call your brothers, grab the shovel and dig a hole.” Despite this, he wipes the dirt off and stands again: “I've seen my own family stab my back, I should've known/They say sticks and stones'll break your bones, I'm sticks and stones.”

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