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Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

Once despising rap because of its offensive language and vulgarity, Wasalu Muhammad Jaco or better known to the world as Lupe Fiasco has been enlisted as one of hip hop’s elite artist in only less than a decade. He is mentioned in a positive light by the T.I.’s and Eminems of the game. Even Jay-Z admitted to him being “a breath of fresh air” after initially helping Lupe garner his deal with his label . After nearly a year of fighting with his label home, Atlantic Records to release his third LP, Lupe is back with the simply titled album Lasers. In this edition of The Rundown with Aryez, we’ll find out if the wait and the protesting lines in front of the label offices were worth it and if Lupe’s Lasers is really on point…

The album kicks off with “Letting Go” featuring Sarah Green produced by King David. He gives the listener an introspective look into how he seems to lose motivation and how he searches for the answers to some of life’s enigmas. Skylar Grey features on the Alex da Kid (Eminem, Rihanna) – produced “Words I Never Said”. This song could be one of his unofficial “realest-s***-I-ever-wrote” tracks as he addresses the current events on terrorism and his stand on the political aspect of it.

The listener has to appreciate his sense of humility when he exclaims lines such as I’m a pawn of the problem, my problem is that I’m peaceful. An unusual turn he takes is in the pop sounding “Out of My Head” featuring Trey Songz. The heavy synthesizers producer Mykal Snoddy blasts throughout the production will keep listeners bouncing and is easily suitable for any after-work happy hour and can still carry as a club banger. “The Show Goes On” by Kane Beatz (Lil Wayne, Birdman) which is one of the album’s singles, is a “breakthrough” song for the listener.

This would be an ideal song to listen to if the listener is going through a difficult period in their day to day experiences. “Beautiful Lasers” produced again by King David, has him battling himself in trying to weigh his consequences for right and wrong decisions he is faced to make. He continues to deliver his “straight, no chaser” conscious material on songs such as “State Run Radio”, “Break the Chain”, and “All Black Everything”. These are definitely notable tracks and very enjoyable to listen to to hear his point of view on politics and the current events of the world.

The end result of the album was not exactly what Lupe had in mind as he was told by Atlantic Records to literally not get too deep with his material. For true Lupe Fiasco fans it can be heard throughout the album as in its entirety. The order doesn’t quite fit as he may get conscious on a track, then the next track is a 180-degree turn. Some songs such as “Till I Get There” and “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now” seem to be out of Lupe’s norm yet for the worst as they offer a more commercial sound. This contradicts songs like “State Run Radio” in which he talks about not abiding to the iron fist of corporate-owned radio formats. It is evident that there is a struggle between him unleashing his verbal assault of cultural awareness in society and Atlantic focusing on their return on investment.

In the end, what makes Lupe a phenomenal artist is the fact that he admits his vulnerabilities and states that this project needed to be released for his fans and to satisfy the label. You can’t fault his music because he still delivers a good product.  To make it worst for competitors (and better for hip hop in general), is this album still presides exceptionally well over most artists that have released projects in past months, (and even the months to come). Die-hard Lupe fans may be a tad bit disappointed but they too, will still enjoy his latest work. Overall, Lupe’s Laser effort may not cut through steel, but it’s precise enough to knock heads.

-Aryez

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