Review Summary: Lupe returning to his best best after the downright awful "Lasers"
Wasalu Jaco, better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco came into the public eye after a guest appearance on Kanye West's hit "Touch The Sky". Following this he released a number of mixtapes and developed a large cult following. His first album "Food And Liquor" was released in 2006 which led to many critics comparing him to NAS due to his reliance on lyrics and beats . His fan base continued to rise over the coming years but his label,Atlantic records felt that he should release a record which would make him a household name, something that your average teenage girl could listen to not just fans of deep lyrical content. This led to the debacle that was "Lasers" With F&L2, Lupe tries to please both, and does so with great success .
The album opens similar to F&L with Lupe's sister Ayesha giving a spoken word rap on the conflict in Egypt setting the tone for the rest of the album. With the opening of the next track you know that this is the Lupe that we are used to and not the musically oppressed one of Lasers. “now i cant pledge allegiance to your flag. ‘cause I can find no reconciliation from your past When there was nothing equal for my people in your math You forced us into ghettos and then you took our dads “
The first single released from the album "Around My Way" should be instantly recognizable to all hip hop fans out there as it samples Pete Rocks classic T.R.O.Y. The song shows Lupe at his political lyrical peak. With the content ranging fromdrug trade in Chicago to depleted Sioux reservations to the international politics that keep a country like Ghana mired in violence and poverty. It is definitely one of the highlights of the album which nearly didn't happen due to objections from Pete himself. The next single "Bitch Bad" is one that has divided critics.Over The Audibles’ production, a synth-driven arrangement that allows the lyrics to take the center stage. Lupe cruises through different misconceptions of women in the rap scene. This is Lupe trying to educate and influence people. Spin Magazine referred to it as "mediocre conscious rap" which led Lupe and his fanbase to boycott the magazine.
Lamborghini Angels opens with Amanda Bynes telling us "It's a mad crazy world out there" The track is seemingly about pedophilia in the church it has an underlying meaning, Lupe battling with material goods but he knows that being attracted to fancy things is not a trait that he would like to posses .The final single to be released from the album is "Battle Scars" featuring a relatively unknown Australian singer, Guy Sebastian. A titan hook similar to that of "Superstar"that will beat you down with no mercy .
Following a excellent opening half which features three of the four single and the Clinquant "Audobon Ballroom" the album falls off a cliff with the cringe worthy love song "Heart Donor" and doesn't get back on track until "Form Follows Function" four tracks later with the only saving grace in between being Battle Scars. FFF contains some of the best verses on the album and hits you with a barrage of religious imagery over a frankly sublime sax playing. Cold War sets us up for a brilliant end to the album. Over recent weeks Lupe has questioned whether he should retire following his altercation with Chief Keef this track deals with these thoughts "question if I'm over it/Or if I'm numb because I'm closure-less"
Prior to the release of this album there was a fear among Lupe fans that he would be unable to recapture the glory of his first two classic albums following Lasers. Although not as good as the original F&L it is still a fantastic album which stands streets ahead of every other mainstream rap album released in recent memory and although it contains a number of sub par tracks, the quality of the rest easily makes up for it. This is not the death of The Cool.