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Monday, October 15, 2012

Lupe Fiasco, 'Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1'

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Lupe Fiasco has always been one of hip-hop’s beloved outcasts, mostly for his socially and politically smitten views and lyrics. Food & Liquor ll strays from the blueprint he laid out with his debut album Food & Liquor. Here, his sister, Ayesha Jaco, recites a poem for the intro, leading into such heavy themes as the invasion of Iraq and the mistreatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government, which recur throughout “Around My Way (Freedom Isn't Free)” and “Brave Heart.”

As such, the album gets a little preachy from time to time. Unlike the Lupe we met on Food & Liquor, he seems to lose The Cool a bit this time around, sounding like a parent who's frustrated with the ill ways of the current music industry and the country, rather than just being the regular Lupe that we’ve come to know. These frustrations come through strongest on such tracks as "ITAL (Roses)" and “Lamborghini Angels,” in which he rhymes, "With the teleprompter rolling he looks right into the lens/ Doesn’t mention his redemption but absolves him of his sins."

These concepts may go over some listeners’ heads, but the reality is that Lupe didn't make this album for entertainment; it was made to inform and enlighten. Food & Liquor II is an album for thinkers, that sidesteps formula: materialism, violence, and polygamy et al.

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