Review Summary: A soulless, automated, corporate recordLasers
is a steaming pile of shi
t that should have never seen the light of day - but not because it is musically terrible. On the contrary, the rapping is solid (if not completely thoughtful) and the production sounds like what one would expect from pop-rap in 2011. Besides the fact that Lupe himself hates this record, the main problem here is a glaring, almost mechanical detachment between between music and musician; on any given track, Lupe's performance sounds like a complete afterthought. With an all-star ensemble of never-before-heard producers, record company Atlantic's theme is obvious: fabricate as many top 40 hits as conceivably possible. The record execs pull out the big guns immediately, enlisting the aid of Holly Brook, or Skylar Grey, or whatever name will make her more money this year. Riding on the coat tails of Fort Minor's irrelevant "Where'd You Go", Grey whines something equally as heartfelt over the notes of some minor chord and cheesy synth-laden arpeggios. Lupe jumps in seemingly whenever to lecture listeners with mundane generalities that no one probably cares about after Grey/Brook's catchy chorus. This pattern continues eleven more times until John Legend closes out the record with what is probably a B-Side from Evolver
as interpreted by not one, but three nameless producers.
Unfortunately, we will all hear this formulaic drivel in excess for the next year (those of us that still listen to the radio, that is). Come October, some pop radio DJ wearing a trucker hat over bleached hair will announce "State Run Radio" as the new hot Lupe Fiasco "jam". Money is always the best motivator, but complaining about label misdeeds after the fact only alienates a fan base further. What happened to the Lupe Fiasco of Food & Liquor
, or even The Cool
? It is hard to believe that, in 2011 when any artist around the world can release a mixtape for wide, free distribution over countless hip-hop nerd blogs, any label can literally say to an artist, "rap over this". Obviously, Atlantic did not rape Lupe into releasing a soulless, automated, corporate record. The real irony is that Lupe's fans demanded this garbage be released.