Monday, February 28, 2011

AshyReview: Lupe Fiasco - Lasers (2011)

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Lupe Fiasco's artistic leap from "Food & Liquor" to "The Cool" was like The Hulk jumping for miles at a time in ONE jump. It was for this reason I have been anticipating this album so much. The other reason being that I saw Lupe live last summer here in Milwaukee and the show was AWESOME. But more than the performance being great was the MUSIC sounded HUGE. The combination of live instruments and synths and background singers was just GREAT.

So after more than his unfair share of release push-backs, Lupe's new album "Lasers" (finally) is geared up for release. While I would love to say long-time fans will be overjoyed by this record, I'm afraid there's no way in hell I can.

The album starts off with the brow-raising "Letting Go". While it's a nice track, it musically feels dated (Think 2006 Just Blaze); while the vocals by Sarah Green steal the show here, Lupe's cheesy distorted vocals kill my mood as soon as every hook ends. Next up is the 2nd single, "Words I Never Said" ft. Skylar Grey. This is without a doubt the best song on the album. And DAMN this song is SUPER DOPETASTIC. From lyrics to production to the *gasp...did he just say THAT?!?* factor Lupe fans have come to expect, this song seriously makes up for the albums' missteps. Unfortunately, one is right around the corner.

"Till I Get There" is what I would call a "victim of sequencing" track. Its a somewhat decent song, but unfortunately its a SOFT song that comes right after possibly the hardest song on the album. It also doesn't help that Lupe seems to have taken this track off lyrically. Nothing really important to hear here. Keep it moving...

All a sudden we've got a Timbo/Will I Am sounding track, which is unfortunately a sign of whats to come. The clone job on the beat is DAMN well done. While it definitely gets your neck snapping, it never really feels genuinely Lupe. Sure his flow is on point, and he's spittin some nice lines, it feels totally contrived. What's starting to CLICK, is this album is Lupe is definitely going after pop radio. As I'm CERTAIN the Trey Songz assisted "Out of My Head" will land.

Lupe for 97% of the album is every bit as lyrically visceral and labyrinthine as ever, but most of the album is VERY synth heavy, which is something a majority of hip hop purists and fans may shun. While this could be easily chalked up as "growth", at it's worst points, it definitely comes off as formulaic. The omission of producer Soundtrakk, who was a primary contributor to Lupe's first 2 albums, from this album is glaring. As I alluded to earlier, this album is a definite step away from the sound & feel many, including myself, have come to expect from Lupe. But, knowing the artist, that's probably exactly why he changed the formula so drastically.

Rating: 3/5

Awesome: Words I Never Said, All Black Everything, I Don't Wanna Care Right Now, Out of My Head, Break The Chain,

Wackness: Till I Get There, State Run Radio, Never Forget You

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