You say tomato, I say classic!…
Two years in the waiting for this, Lupe Fiasco’s highly anticipated “Lasers” or Love Always Shine, Everytime Remember to Smile is set to release next week and I have to say it’s been a journey for Lupe. To the album almost being scratched and sparks a protest, which I thought was a possibly a publicity stunt but after hearing the album, I can see why the label heads were afraid to release this album, so with that being said, was this album worth all the hype and the protest?
Can I first say this, about damn time! Now on to the review, when I first heard the first track “Letting Go” I knew he was gong back to his roots on this album to “Food an Liquor” and I was prepared of what I was about to hear. ‘Food and Liquor,” is a classic that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. A lot of people said it was too over their heads to grasp the album or the productions was weak and Pop-ish, but I love it even more for that reason, the exceptions of a Lupe album can never be met because Lupe does what’s unexpected. The most controversial track, I heard in years is “Words I Never Said” the most powerful track I’ve heard since “I Use To Love H.E.R.” Lupe touches every subject that every rapper is afraid to touch or say on that record such as his line “Ghaza strip was gettin bombed but Obama didn’t say shit, That’s why I didn’t vote for him, next one either, I’m a part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful.” The first rapper to step out and say he doesn’t support Obama, but the food for thought line was, “I think that all the silence is worse than all violence,” Wow, some people don’t even realize how powerful that line is.
Lupe goes left field with tracks like “Coming Up” and “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now” which has a up-tempo kinda techno production but Lupe bodies the track. He steps out further on this album to separate himself from the pack, he has a little more fun experimenting on this album with a punk rock/pop vibe and taking more risk. “The Show Goes On,” is a great track and Lupe takes shots at Atlantic records and the second verse is PMB’s Best Rap Verse of 2010 shows love to the people, the record is a smash. Lupe gives his all on this album as well with tracks like “Never Forget You,” and “Beautiful Laser” which is the battle Lupe has with himself to the point he even use suicide as an exit, he also states that his fan are what keeps him going or his beautiful L.A.S.E.R.S. is what he calls them. Lupe still gives you the great substance on this album along with something new, like “State Run Radio” Maybe my favorite track on the album.. well…. second, where he pretends to be the mainstream who promotes ignorance and knocks on originality, uniqueness, and music with substance.
One of my favorite foreign talents, Sway make his debut on American retail on “Break The Chain” which is about getting free and expressing yourself, he goes in along with Lupe Fiasco in trying to break the mentality in society nowadays. My favorite tracks is “All Black Everything,” definition of black he was representing in the song. The absence of color entirely, the absence of racism. Lupe also takes you into a what if scenarios, as what if slavery was a legit business and they got paid, or what if the urban community unites as one and killed the negativity of the minority and to shoot for the stars regardless of your race and to kill discrimination.
I am almost certain fans of “The Cool,” aren’t big fans of “Food and liquor,”and won’t be fans of this album because Lupe branches out of hip hop or what they call “selling out” like Kanye West and Drake on recent albums, and not containing himself into a box and given you the same consistency in his music. I wish he had a poem for the intro to foreshadow the album but that is a minor flaw. I would hope people would really get the messages he puts in this album which is to put substance into the mainstream and don’t let society tell you that your nothing and the smallest person can make the biggest impact in the world, but most likely people will listen to it off the back and say “What the fuck is this shit?” base on the production not being “hip hop” enough. Anyone with an open mind will appreciate this album and understand the message. Lupe even stated before the album was released, it will be controversial and to add, Atlantic didn’t want to release it and didn’t like the direction he was going on this album should have given people the hint it would be a unique album.
Overall, this album is one of those lost gem classic such as “Massacre” and “808’s and Heartbreak” and yes those are gem classics, people don’t see it now but a few years down the line, people will appreciate this album. I like when Artist go out the norm to be unique, inspiring, daring and Lupe does that with a solid production, not great but Lupe never had a five star productions(Listen to Food and Liquor and The Cool) and he still gives great thought provoking rhymes. It’s not just a great hip hop album, it’s a great album in general. When you have the talent to do that, you’re only helping hip hop in getting respect and killing the stereotype of what hip hop should sound like. I say it’s a must buy for any hip hop fans to hear the message and see you can be catchy and have substance at the same time and non hip hop fans can enjoy it too, which is a major bonus.
Recommended Tracks: The Whole Album