I'm Not Racist by Joyner Lucas

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I’m Not Racist is Joyner Lucas’ song that was released and went viral resulting in varied opinions in the media outlets. The song commences with an energetic, sure, high tone whereby two men of two different races (one White and the other Black) are seated at a table facing each other and loudly speaking out their varied racial differences. In the first verse, the first character is clad in a cap dubbed ‘Make America Great Again.’ He defends Whites in America by calling the African-Americans lazy, irresponsible and that they constantly blame racism as the source of their problems. On the other hand, in the preceding verse, the African- American recounts the initial White man’s defense by saying that there is police brutality - a system based on racism, consequently, the Whites can never comprehend how it feels for one to be Black. This verse has an equally high, bitter and sorrowful tone. At the end of the song, both men have a reconciliatory hug suggesting an understanding and brotherhood; though no solution is arrived at, the tone is an optimistic one.

In the song I’m Not Racist, there is a culture of fear. There is a raging war on cultural values and inequalities on the provision of opportunities, security among other disagreements between the Whites and the African-Americans. The White rapper says he is prepared for any war that may arise. The second African-American retaliates that Blacks shall always protest that ‘Black Lives Matter,’ a war that the whites will never win. There are differing cultures between the Whites and Blacks. The White rapper advises the Blacks to quit selling drugs and embrace White jobs and while the Blacks call for equity, equality and respect for Black culture. Lucas’ song is dominated with free and hatred speeches. This is evident in both characters rapping in the two verses employing abusive language in an attempt to express their anger, hatred and disagreement. It is so ironic in the end that despite the rage and disagreement, both parties end up in a calm tight embrace.

Joyner Lucas’ rap song kicks off with the White rapper throwing racist tropes that Blacks are irresponsible and lazy but momentarily denies that he is not racist as a break between the verses. It is evident in the second verse that African-Americans are in a war of racial equality. The lyrical pause ‘I’m Not Racist’ is both true and ironic. Lucas’ opening verse has evidence that despite him being White, he has a sister that is dating a Black man (I’m Not Racist, 2017). Additionally, he agrees there may be a cultural misunderstanding between the white and people of color’s cultures. Ironically, there are varied instances where racist tropes are continually used. In the second verse, historical tropes are reinforced. The second rapper airs his grievances on the reception of injustice and being stereotyped (I’m Not Racist, 2017). At the end of Joyner Lucas’ music video, the White man has pity on the African-American. He gets up and hugs him. There is no resolved conflict. Both parties had bitterly stated their sides of the story without a solution in the long run. Therefore, Lucas’ song simply notes the grievances and leaves the solution to be found by the audience.


I’m Not Racist is a rap song that reveals differences in cultures, depicts hatred and files complains that are not finally solved. This piece of art ignites a conversation on injustice, racial inequality and stereotyping. Joyner Lucas’ intent in this song may have been to bring both disagreeing parties to comprehend each other’s side of the story. It is an emotionally truthful conversation about race. Most works of art point out socio-economic and political problems and then leave the audience to formulate the solutions. Consequently, Joyner Lucas succeeded in identifying the social needs of both parties as it is the case in the final reconciliatory embrace between the White rapper and the African-American rapper.

Reference List

Hudson, A. 2017.  I’m Not Racist: An Appreciation and Critique. The Witness.

Lucas, J. 2017. I’m Not Racist. Available at; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43gm3CJePn0

October 05, 2023

Music Sociology


Race and Ethnicity

Subject area:

Rap Music

Number of pages


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Expertise Rap Music
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