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Anticipation for Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor II

“I used to hate hip-hop, yup, because the women degraded…

Omitting the word b-tch, the cursing I wouldn’t say it

Me and dog couldn’t relate, until a b-tch I dated

Forgive my favorite word for her and hers alike,

but I learned it from a song I heard and sort of liked.” – Lupe Fiasco, “Hurt Me Soul”

Lupe Fiasco is one of the most genuine and authentic rappers that exist today. In the “YMCMB” ruled music world, Lupe has not only survived, but has stayed true to the morals and beliefs he stated he had. In 2006, at the release of his first album Food & Liquor, Lupe made it very clear who he was: An uncommon rapper, unique in every way, whose talent quickly obtained the public’s attention.

Six years ago Fiasco used Food & Liquor to define who he was, and why he was entering the ‘rap game.’ As a Muslim and a straight edge, he was already defying all of hip-hop’s current norms. “We are dying at the cause of our pollution, but God has another solution … I present to you, the one that turns the Fiasco to good” (Introduction to Food & Liquor). He presented himself as the one who came to save the rap game. Some mistook him as weak, and some didn’t even consider him a rapper. He didn’t have any ‘street credit,’ no material wealth, and was definitely not popular with the honeys. However, being who he was, Fiasco still was able to gain a large fan base.

To label him a rapper, and place him next to Lil’ Wayne, Drake and rappers of the sort would be inaccurate, and disrespectful. Fiasco is an artist, a poet, and a scholar. In Food & Liquor alone, he addresses: gentrification, the aftermath of Katrina, the fabricated music industry, being different from the majority leading to alienation, the effects that the lack of father has on a young boy, the disconnect rap artists have from the everyday lives of their listeners, and racism in the United States towards Asians, Africans and Native Americans.

I will not spend any more time to make the case that Fiasco is a talented artist, in one verse, such as: “They say I’m infected, this why I inject it/I had it aborted, we got deported/My laptop got spyware, they say that I can’t lie here/But I got no place to go/I can’t stop eating, my best friend’s leaving/my pastor touched me, I love this country” from “Hurt Me Soul”, he touches on the subject of drugs, abortion, deportation, government control, homelessness, obesity, the wrongdoings and hypocrisy of the Catholic church, and patriotism in the USA. This is in comparison to one verse of the 2006 MTV best rap video winner “Ridin’ Dirty”:

I been drinkin’ and smokin’ holdin’ sh*t cause a brother can’t focus/I gotta get to home ‘fore the po po’s scope this big ol’ Excursion swerving all up in the curve man/N**ga been sippin’ on that Hennessey and the gin again is in again we in the wind/Doin’ a hundred while I puff on the blunt/And rollin’ another one up, we livin’ like we ain’t givin’ a f*ck/I got a revolver in my right hand, 40 oz on my lap freezing my balls”.

Enough said. The lyrics will speak for themselves.

Fiasco set such a high bar for himself, that he disappointed some fans at the release of his latest album, Lasers. Some might say Fiasco fell off with lasers, he changed up, gave in, etc. Which is a respected opinion. The struggle to compromise between what the industry wanted him to produce, and an unlike rebel such as Lupe wanted to produce is nothing but ugly. The first reason for Lasers not meeting the listener’s expectations was the amount of pressure on Fiasco from his rap label. The second reason is simply, the change that occurred in Lupe Fiasco as a person. Five years in the industry, spotlight, media will take a toll on an artist as a person. Just like Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreak** was different to his previous work, it did not necessarily mean that it was any better or worse in quality and effort, it just meant he was at a different moment in his life.

Fiasco made an effort to let his fans know his struggle; he didn’t just put the album out and allow his fans to determine why it was different from his previous work. Instead he put up a fight, he spoke up and talked about the industry and the “chains” they had on him during the production of Lasers. Regardless of the different content between Lasers and The Cool, at the core, he still remained himself.

I applaud Lupe, for doing something Lil’ Wayne, 50 Cent, and many other rappers could not do: Staying true to the person they said they were before they received all the fame that they did. The first single: “B*tch Bad” from Food & Liquor II, speaks about the same issues he spoke about in this first album six years ago. In the intro to Food & Liquor“We call our women hoes, bust downs and shorties…” In “B*tch Bad” he continues to share his thoughts on how inappropriate and disrespectful it is to be addressing the women of our generation as b*tches. It also tries to explain the role this word takes on children as they grow up and relate it to different things in their lives.

I highly anticipate Food & Liquor II. Just listening to the first single “B*tch Bad* takes me back to his song “Hurt Me Soul,” the morals and standards he set for himself have truly stayed with him for all of these years and that is why, Lupe Fiasco will forever be one of the greatest in my book when it comes to pure, conscious, clean, and true hip-hop.

**Disclaimer: I am not comparing Kanye’s album to Lupe’s album. I’m simply comparing the sudden change in two artist’s genre and quality of product.

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