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Music Review: Lupe Fiasco – Lasers (2011)

There are seven hip-hop releases I'm really looking forward to in March and I'm planning on reviewing every one of them. Lupe Fiasco's "Lasers" is the first.

Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

March is a pretty stacked month when it comes to hip-hop releases I’m looking forward to hearing. I’m hyped for seven releases this month – Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers, Pac Div’s Mania!, Curren$y’s Muscle Car Chronicles, Raekwon’s Shaolin vs Wu-Tang, Travis Barker’s Give the Drummer Some (which isn’t exactly hip-hop but most of the guests are rappers so I’m counting it), CunninLynguists’ Oneirology, and Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers. I’m planning on reviewing all seven of these albums and the first is Lasers.

You know there’s a problem when an album’s not even out yet and the artist himself is giving interviews talking about how much he hates his own album. Usually artists wait months or years before acknowledging something like that since they typically want to sell as many albums as possible even if it is subpar – but to come out this early and call it crap is unheard of.

As I started listening to this album I didn’t get what all the hate was about. “Letting Go” is a very good opening track – Lupe’s rapping is fine, the production is pretty good, and the hook is really catchy (which isn’t something you can say for a lot of Lupe Fiasco songs). Even though I liked this track, the rest of the album happened and I completely understood what the hate was about.

“Words I Never Said” is okay, I guess. It was originally supposed to be an Airplanes-type song but Lupe instead injected his heavy political opinions into the song which is starting to come off as repetitive. He’s listed off injustices in the world many times before and here he is doing it again. Skylar Grey is serviceable enough on the hook but as far as rap hooks go she isn’t even in the same league as Rihanna. The beat on this track is a bit overbearing and doesn’t do anything for me either.

If you ask me the lone bright bright spot in the rest of the album is “The Show Goes On” which is a song he released as a single months ago. It’s not exactly what I’d expect from Lupe but I still really enjoy it – it has a really obvious Modest Mouse sample which is perfectly fine with me since Modest Mouse is awesome.  Before I ultimately scrapped my “best hip-hop songs of 2010” article I put this song in the top 10. I really like it.

Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t sound like a Lupe Fiasco album at all. The trend in the mainstream recently has been to rap over generic electro beats and that’s enough to get you on the radio. Obviously Atlantic felt the same way since the rest of this album sounds like a lovechild between old Lupe Fiasco and current-day Black Eyed Peas. If anyone reading this knows me, they’ll know that me comparing anything to the Black Eyed Peas is not a positive comment. Some of the songs on this album are laughably bad even by pop rap standards (see “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now“). This is not the Lupe Fiasco I became a big fan of years ago.

So….yeah. Seven big hip-hop albums coming out this month and so far it looks like we’re 0 for 1. It’s a bit disappointing to wait for this album for four years and just get a generic label-influenced album.
Score: 3.5/10

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