Joyner Lucas

Signing Story: Joyner Lucas

Worcester, MA rapper Joyner Lucas isn’t typical, either with his serious lyrical content, which covers everything from suicide to gang violence, or his methodology, which entails conceptualizing the video before writing the song. But the arresting results made him go viral on Facebook, subsequently grabbing the attention of Atlantic Records Chairwoman/COO Julie Greenwald. Excitedly, she carted her laptop around the office and showed everyone the video for “Happy Birthday.”

Atlantic contacted Lucas’ manager, Sha Money XL, instructing the duo to meet them in New York. Although Lucas had communicated with numerous labels, including Interscope, Def Jam, Universal and Republic, he viewed the selection as a “no-brainer.” “I felt they really wanted me over there,” he explains. “They understand what I was doing and didn’t want to change it at all.”

“They understand what I was doing and didn’t want to change it at all.”

Lucas knew he needed the strength of a major after tackling the indie route with his own Dead Silence Records. Instead of eliminating the label, the deal brings it along. The agreement also includes Boi-1da, who executive produced 508-507-2209, released June 16. “He is, in my opinion,” testifies Lucas, “one of the greatest deejays of all time.”

Keeping things in perspective, Lucas knows not every deal’s the same. As he puts it, “Some of the things I felt were important probably aren’t to another artist.” He also knows this is a beginning, not an end. “It wasn’t like I signed and suddenly I’m in all these magazines and on all these TV shows. It doesn’t work like that. I have to keep working and things are going to fall into place. It’s a process.”

Although fresh, Lucas declares the decision right. “I signed a good deal,” he insists. “It was a good move.”