Joyner Lucas’ Devil’s Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?

If you are a follower of the music industry, especially the international one, then you would be in the know of the latest hit off the ADHD album by Joyner Lucas, Devil’s Work.

The controversial hit single, setting trends for the past 2 days has received recognition from all in the music industry, with Rihanna describing it as “a moment for the culture.”

Influenced by recent tragic deaths of rappers such as XXXTENTACION and Nipsey Hussle, Joyner pours out his heart in this song that serves as message to God, filled with many rhetorical questions to him, with the main one being “Why do you take good people from us and leave the bad ones?”

The lyrics are lined with many names, and in this post we would analyze who the individuals mentioned are.

The first name he mentions, 47 second mark of the song is STEVE FRANCIS.

Steve Francis

Steve Francis is a retired basketball player who had a rather nomadic career.

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Steve Francis

In college, Francis began his career in Texas at San Jacinto Junior College before shifting to Allegany Community College in Maryland as a sophomore. After earning first-team All-NJCAA that season, he then transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he played one season, earning second-team All-American status nationally and All-ACC first team.

Throughout his professional career, Francis was a part of four teams in 11 years but is remembered as the 1999-00 Rookie of the Year winner, and a three-time All-Star. He was drafted second overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999, but forced a trade before the season even started. The bulk of his career was then spent with Houston Rockets, while also spending time in Orlando.

While many fans may remember Francis for wearing the number three, Joyner Lucas references his last true career stint with the New York Knicks where he wore number one.

Next he mentions 2Pac (1:20) and Suge (1:21). For those conversant with the rap culture especially in the 90s, these are names that resonate with the genre of music worldwide.

2Pac

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
2 Pac

2Pac is one of the most iconic artists in history, with over 75 million records sold worldwide and multiple classic albums, including two RIAA Certified Diamond, has always been considered as one of the, if not the, greatest rappers ever.

At the height of his phenomenal success, Tupac’s life was cut short on September 13, 1996, six days after being hit multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, at the age of 25.

“Thug Life” was a phrase often used by Pac, and he described it as an acronym meaning “The Hate U Gave Little Infants Fucks Everybody.” He also used Thug Life as the name of the group he formed with his brother and some of their friends. The late West Coast emcee even had the slogan tattooed on his abdomen

Suge

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Suge Knight

Former hip-hop mogul Suge Knight, who was the CEO and co-founder of the California-based record label Death Row Records, to

which 2Pac was signed, was the driver of Pac’s car the night of the shooting.

Knight had always being known for his street notoriety and manipulative ways. Many consider him as one of the main reasons that launched the rise of gangster rap and criminal involvement in hip-hop, as well as many believe he was behind Tupac’s murder.

At 1:30, “Give us Biggie, give us Pun, give us triple X

Biggie, Pun, XXX

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
XXXTentacion

The Notorious B.I.G., Big Pun and XXXTENTACION are rappers who unexpectedly and tragically lost their lives before reaching their peak in success.

By the age of 24, Biggie was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997.

Legendary Bronx rapper Big Pun passed away from a heart attack on February 28, 2000, at the age of 28.

XXX was shot and killed inside of his car on June 18, 2018 after leaving a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, Florida, at the age of 20.

Trump

Arguably the most unliked American President, Donald Trump is referred to as a “bigger threat”, “coward with no intellect” and a “bigot with collar” by Joyner Lucas in his track. This wouldn’t be the first time he would be calling out the president though.

Joyner’s biggest song to date, “I’m Not Racist,”depicts an intense discussion about race relations between a black man and a white Trump-supporter wearing a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat, a slogan Trump and his supporters have been using since his campaign and into his victory.

Selena and Aaliyah (1:48)

Selena and Aaliyah

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Selena and Aaliyah

Joyner mentions two young female performers who died tragically just as they appeared to be attaining superstardom, “Queen of Tejano” Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and R&B singer and actress Aaliyah Haughton.

Selena was shot by a revolver on March 30th, 1995 by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldívar, whom Selena had suspected of embezzling money.

Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash on the 25th of August, 2001 while returning to the US from filming a music video in the Bahamas.

Recently, much attention has been given to the fact that long-standing rumors that Aaliyah had been sexually exploited as a teenager by her collaborator and mentor R. Kelly have been corroborated by a former backup dancer. Joyner asks God to “take” Kelly a few lines later in this verse.

Joyner next references two Marins with differing impacts on society- Martin Luther King Jr. and Martin Shkreli (2:02).

Martin Luther King Jr. and Martin Shkreli

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Martin Shkreli

MLK Jr is renown for his impact in the Afro-American culture, on the Civil Rights movement,  seen as a pacesetter in the fight against racism.

Martin Shkreli, on the other hand, is infamous for raising the price of Daraprim (used to treat infections in AIDS patients and babies) from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.

Shkreli was sentenced to 7 years in jail in 2018 for securities fraud.

Next up, Malcolm and R.Kelly (2:04)

Malcolm X and R.Kelly

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Malcolm X

Malcolm X is regarded as one of the most important African Americans in history. He was one of the most influential leaders of the Civil Rights movement, and a forerunner to the Black Power movement that would follow.

 

R&B superstar R. Kelly has recently experienced a precipitous downfall, as the public eye has been turned on a long-accumulating litany of accusations against him stretching back to the 1990’s, centering around the sexual predation of teenaged girls.

Lil Snupe (2:06)

Lil Snupe

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Lil Snupe

Meek Mill and Dream Chasers Records signee Lil Snupe was shot and killed by 36-year-old Tony Holden on June 20, 2013 in Winnfield, Louisiana at the young age of 18. His death shocked the hip-hop community due to his rising stardom and recent signing.

In another clever mix of names, Joyner mentions two different Erics, Eric Holder and Eric Wright

Eric Holder and Eric Wright

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Eric Wright, aka Eazy E

Eric Holder is the man who allegedly shot and killed Nipsey Hussle.

Eazy-E, whose real name was Eric Wright, was a member of the American hip-hop group N.W.A. Wright died from AIDS related complications in 1995, only one month after his diagnosis. He was 30 years old when he passed.

At 2:18, Trayvone  and Zimmerman were mentioned

 

Trayvone and Zimmerman

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Trayvone martins

Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old boy born on February 5, 1995. He was murdered by a man named George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. People were enraged when Zimmerman’s charges were dropped on July 13, 2013.

One of the most recent, known mentioned individuals in the track is Nipsey Hussle (2:27)

Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle died from multiple shots in the parking lot of his store, Marathon Clothing, in South Los Angeles at about 3:25 p.m on the date of March 31, 2019.

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Nipsey Hussle

After that happened, Joyner posted a photograph with him on Facebook and wrote his feelings about the situation:

“This one really hurt. We was just on FaceTime the other day cuzz. Smh damn. If Nipsey ain’t safe, nobody’s safe.

Niggaz talk shit about me going Hollywood & leaving the hood. This is why. It be your own peoples. Your own family. Your own hood. Nip built businesses in his hood, Gave back to his people, Gave niggaz jobs. And they STILL killed him. I never understood his “stay in the hood” mentality but I respected it. My motto was always to make as much money as I can & LEAVE THE HOOD. Streets ain’t got no love for young rich self made niggaz. Everybody want clout. Everybody wants to make a name.. RIP Nip. Hip-hop won’t be the same.”

Emmett Hill and Dylan Roof (2:44)

Emmett Hill and Dylan Roof

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Emmett Hill

One of the most enduring symbols of racist violence in the Jim Crow era South, 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till became an icon of the civil rights movements after his highly publicized lynching in Mississippi in 1955.

Till, a Chicagoan who was visiting relatives in Mississippi, was accused of making advances on a white woman, shop proprietor Carolyn Bryant (Bryant admitted she fabricated these claims decades later). Days later, he was abducted, beaten, shot and dumped in a river by Bryant’s husband, Roy and his half-brother, J.W. Milam. The murderers were acquitted by an all-white jury, though they later publicly admitted to the crime.

Till’s mother insisted on holding a public funeral in Chicago, which was attended by tens

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Dylan Roof

of thousands, with an open casket. Photographs of Till’s brutalized body were circulated worldwide, generating enormous sympathy for the civil rights movement, including the pivotal Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would occur four months later and last almost a year.

21 year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof was the man responsible for the Charleston church shooting, which took the lives of nine African Americans. He confessed to committing this mass-shooting in hopes to start a race war. He was sentenced to death on January 10, 2017. Three months later, he pleaded guilty to all nine charges in order to avoid a second death sentence, and was sentenced to life imprisonment for each.

James Holmes (2:46) is a convicted murder responsible for the deaths of 12 people and the injury of 70 others in a mass shooting at a movie theater during a showing of the 2012 superhero epic, The Dark Knight Rises.

Whitney Houston and Michael jackson (2:49) are both mentioned, musical legends at every level of the word. They redefined the music industry worldwide and were kings and queens of their genre of music. Both dead, but their impact in the global music industry continues to be felt.

At 2:54, mention was made of Sandra Bland.

Sandra Bland

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?
Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African-American woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide. It was followed by protests against her arrest, disputing the cause of death, and alleging racial violence against her.

Bland was pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10 by State Trooper Brian Encinia. The exchange escalated, resulting in Bland’s arrest and charge for assaulting a police officer. The arrest was partially recorded by Encinia’s dashcam and by a bystander’s cell phone. After authorities reviewed the dashcam footage, Encinia was placed on administrative leave for failing to follow proper traffic stop procedures.

 

Fox News personality Tomi Lahren (3:31) has been known to speak about Hip-Hop culture in unpleasant ways in the past. Some artists have taken offense to this such as The Game, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B.

Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?Joyner Lucas' Devil's Work: Who were the people mentioned in the track?

 

 

 

 

 

 

While reporting about Nipsey Hussle’s funeral, Fox news anchor, Laura Ingraham (3:33) laughed while bringing up and mocking YG and Nipsey’s 2016 track, “FDT.” This led to many people calling for her to be fired.

These are all the mentioned individuals in the track. More could have been included in the tracj as Joyner himself said “I left out a bunch of names that I forgot to mention”, but with the few he has mentioned, the point of the song is passed.

However you choose to interpret or understand the song, is based on perspective, but as clearly stated by Joyner, the taking of lives of people has nothing to do with a loving God, but as he concludes, “it’s the devil’s work.”

How do you understand this track? What is your take on it? Drop your comments in the section below

 

 

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