Lupe Fiasco’s Food And Leak’er

It leaked. Yeah, I know, it already leaked. But it leaked: for real this time.

And it’s definitely worth the wait. With this 16-track opus, Lupe makes a serious contention for the hip-hop album of the year, and marks a great start to what should be an illustrious rap career. I’ll probably write an entire review soon, but here are my intial thoughts on Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor.

  • One of the great things about this album is that its foundation is on storytelling. Many major releases in the hip-hop these days are rooted in braggadocio raps and punchlines, while one or two narrative tracks are thrown in just to cover the rest of the bases. Lupe doesn’t just show that he’s a capable griot, but that he can thrive on narrating, just as much as he can eat off of the punchlines.
  • The production on this album is also a standout, for two reasons. For one, everybody contributes incredible soundscapes for Lupe to spit over – beats from Kanye West and The Neptunes are matched, if not surpassed, by offerings from in-house producers Soundtrakk (keep your eyes peeled for my Boiling Point article on him in the next issue of SCRATCH magazine) and Profyle. Plus, as far as I can remember, not since Jay-Z’s Blueprint (which, ironically, hits the five-year anniversary of its release today) has a major label rap LP had such high quality production that has track-to-track coherence, making for a congenial listening experience instead of a compilation of ill beats from all over the place (sorry, Game).
  • As the homie Matt Barone said, it’s criminal if Lupe flops commercially. He already had the nerdy, skateboard gimmick that seperates him from everyone else, and the industry cosign from heavy hitters like The Neptunes, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and even Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. But this album only affirms how much commercial potential that Lupe has: “I Gotcha” is a splendid display of his confident swagger and quirky charm, and “Sunshine” seems custom-made for radio with its lush, Neptunes-esque production courtesy of Soundtrakk, sing-songy hook and female-friendly lyrics. In short, everyone – casual rap listeners, die-hard hip-hop heads, and music snobs like me – should be satisfied with the disc.
  • Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor has the type of errors that great albums are supposed to have – not enough room for all of the ill music. Granted, the retail version excluded widespread favorites from the leak, like “Steady Mobbin'” and “Real Recognize Real,” but there’s only so much room for a new artist’s major label debut; besides, that’s what mp3 players are for. Also, the 12-minute outro where he talks the entire time could be done without, but on a disc where all of the other tracks are way above par, I’m not complaining.

Last weekend, I bought J Dilla’s The Shining (I know, I’m a little late, but better late than never, right?) and I re-purchased Biggie’s Life After Death. From the looks of it, September will have me purchasing at least one more hip-hop album – and Lupe deserves every penny.

P.S.: If you haven’t noticed yet, peep the new music player on the left side, shamelessly swagger jacked from Uggh…Nice Watch. Those songs are from albums that I’m currently listening to, custom-made for the peeps who are always asking me what music they need to get a hold of. And after today’s entry, I plan to step my blogging game up and make regular updates to this page. Constantly updated music, and constantly-updated entries on what’s going on in hip-hop: Bookmark Me, ninjas!

P.S.S.: “Ninja” is my new substitute for “nigga.” Had to go with something new.

  • M Double

    in the words of Denzel Washington from Training Day, “my nigga” lol… what did that have to do with anything? ionno… I just happened to be thinking of Training Day lmao.

    Lupe is that deal man and I’ll be damned if I hear a nigga bad mouthin or hear about a nigga sleepin on the future of hip hop. I’m tired of this watered down candy sugar water pop rap shit man.

  • Anonymous

    I’m definitely goin’ to get this shit son…But then again…Thass the same thing I said bout Fishscale…And every other good album to come out this year…I’m horrible yo…But DEFINTELY coppin’ this one…Jus cuz you said so…

  • JAWS

    It’s sad that it’s like a breath of fresh air when we hear an MC actually talking about something.

    I don’t know if I will buy the Lupe album, just because he hasn’t built up a long mixtape history that I like. I may cop it later when I hear more songs from it, but as it currently stands, I will stay on the sidelines.

    Good luck to Lupe though, and nice music player.

  • Anonymous

    Lupe is the first emcee I’ve heard in years with that special “it” factor about him…the game desperately needs someone like him to blow up. WTF was he thinking with that album cover though? Shit is terrible. Good lookin’ Will

    -J

  • Mr. Clark

    Lupe may just fail commercially because of the fact that he’s not an “ignant” MC that is popular with whites and blacks. He may fall into those who are KanyĆ©-ites, but I really don’t expect him to push mad units. Especially with only one definite single that been playing on the radio and BET.

    I love the music and am happy that duke is doing something constructive within the game. But ignorance is to heavily present within our culture to think that “backpacker” and “thug” alike are going to bump Lupe’s album.

  • Mr. [IproudlyrockmycustomedPunisherkick] Smack

    I don’t think he’s going to do good commericially. I’ve already been hearing people bad mouthing the dude and his image. It just doesn’t seem like people are checking for Lupe, which is sad. Just like ya boy said, “if Lupe fails commercially, I’m gonna lose faith in this hip-hop shit.

    But with that said, the album…NIIIICE. I’m still hooked on “The Emperor’s Soundtrack.” I just wish he’d do something different (the intro and outro, NOT JUST TALKING) and I’m STILL iffy on that damn cover but fuck it. I’m buying it……..someday :(. Damn art school.

    ~!unO!~

  • Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)

    As always, good writing my dude. Too bad his stuff leaked. Lupe’s definitely a breath of fresh air. Sometimes, however, when you’ve been breathing bad air for a long time, it takes your lungs a while to get used to the clean air even if it is good for you. Perhaps the hip hop world is in a state of withdrawal off these cancerous fumes that have wafted through the streets for so long. Maybe Lupe’s oxygen leaked for a reason…

  • Anonymous

    After reading your blog, you really got me amped for this “Food & Liquor” album! I’m a little hurt that “Real Recognize Real” and “Steady Mobbin” ain’t gonna be on there, cuz those joints were HOT. Oh well, I’m sure he’s got plenty of other hot joints to replace those.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know how well he’s going to do commercially. He had a solid buzz going on, but early leaks and constant push backs have historically meant disaster for hip-hop artists (ask Method Man, Slim Thug, Rick Ross, Talib Kweli, etc). He has the backing of Atlantic, which had a positive impact on T.I., but not so much on Little Brother. Whatever happens, I know I’m gonna do my part this upcoming Tuesday!

    MJG

  • Anonymous

    Yes man you said it all the cd is bumping outr of control..i was feeling the sick metaphor of a song called “cool” and the remake of pressure with jay z….the kid has amazing talent…i wish he woulda spit over them intro and outro beats tho lol…nice article tho peace…corey

  • Anonymous

    This album is ridiculous. I’ll give it some time, but I think we may have a classic on our hands. The only thing that holds the album down is the outro. It’s just too damn long. Other tnan that, I don’t see this leaving my rotation for a minute. Ill lyrics, crazy beats, varied subject matter…what more can you ask for on a hip hop cd?

    Mr. Jones

  • Anonymous

    Go find that song Lupe the Killa produced by SC