Like Exit, Joyful Rebellion primarily focuses on k-os's negative views of the music industry, supplemented by more metaphorical lyrics.
The track "Man I Used to Be" is about a man who wants to revert to his previous self. The tracks "The Love Song" and "The Mirror" are semi-autobiographical. The song "One Blood" is an anti-war message. The song "Papercutz" is k-os's denial that Exit was his last album. "Commandante" features the opening sample of a woman speaking in Spanish on a voice mail.