Lupe Fiasco, Lasers

Lupe Fiasco, Lasers

2006’s Food and Liquor prophetically announced the arrival of “the hip-hop generation’s next great vanguard”: Lupe Fiasco. While the rest of the world drenched themselves in the intoxicating and trite gibberish noisily spat of the mouths of Dem Franchize Boyz and Chamillionaire, Food and Liquor offered a return to sanity, instead.

Striving for lyrical poetry, Lupe turned a blind eye to memorable hooks and instead crafted an album of substance and honesty. This level of consciousness was even more apparent on his sophomore album, The Cool, which not only vaulted Lupe Fiasco into the limelight and continued to remind hip-hop devotees that the genre still has roots outside of the club. With his third album Lasers, Lupe Fiasco has revamped his style in hopes of building off his previous success, but has it worked?

In short, no. Lasers is intentionally different than Lupe’s previous two albums. Under normal circumstances, praise could be showered on him for the decision to change, as Food and Liquor Part III would fail to inspire even the most ardent fans. In the case of Lasers, however, Lupe embraces the current influx of pop and nu-metal/industrial sounds, resulting a mediocre album well below the standards for such a talented MC. Had this been an unknown MC, Lasers would be seen as a poor attempt to ride the coattails of hip-hop giants.

Musically, Lasers is incapable of synthesizing multiple styles and instead pushes out beats which poorly imitate last year’s most popular hip-hop songs. It’s hard to find the common thread between “Words I Never Said,” “BREAK THE CHAIN,” and “The Show Goes On,” yet this musical incongruity dominates the entire album. In fact, a dubious feat is achieved as the music dominates the lyrics of Lasers, an awful concept last displayed by Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon. It’s “style” over substance as lyrically, Lupe abandons guile in favor of a more unrefined, possibly more accessible approach.

For certain simpler concepts, such the “boy loves girl” theme of “Out of My Head,” Lupe is able to get away with a poor lyrical effort. More serious issues demand more craft, however, and songs meant to inspire are tinged with a lack of effort and sound patronizing, even insulting. Even the social commentary in Lasers loses Lupe’s effortless talent, as “Words I Never Said” or “State Run Radio” are well below the graceful and clever standards of such an enlightened MC.

So what happened here? Lasers is terribly disappointing. Perhaps it’s unfair to judge Lupe Fiasco this harshly, as the expectations were impossibly high; however, it’s not as if Lasers lacks any merit. It’s the few high points, like the alternate history of “All Black Everything,” that remind you Lupe is a rare talent in the world of hip-hop.

Maybe Lasers is a product of Lupe’s success, his inability to live up to his own hype. Perhaps the first words spoken by Lupe unintentionally reveal the source of Lasers‘ problems: “My self-portrait shows a man that the wealth tortured / Self-absorbed with his own self forfeit / A shelf full of awards.” Honestly, though, the reason doesn’t matter, as the end result is worth avoiding.

(Atlantic Records -- http://atlanticrecords.com/; Lupe Fiasco -- http://www.lupefiasco.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, May 7th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply


H-Town Mixtape

Upcoming Shows

Categories

Archives

Recent Posts

Links

Our Sponsors