I can’t remember a hip-hop release (especially by a non-pale-faced fellow) getting more attention and praise from indie-rock mags and alternative radio stations than this 2006 release, well certainly not since the halcyon days of Public Enemy and De La Soul.
Lupe’s backstory is part of the buzz – a politically aware, Muslim son of a Black Panther with a penchant for skateboarding. The music was the key driver, however. He spits out very rapid fire, articulate lyrics, laid out over string-heavy lush arrangements.
This debut effort hits the mark in the same way so many hip-hop freshmen releases seem to. Fiasco sounds different and fresh. He’s probably closest in style (to these undereducated ears) to Kanye West, but with faster rhymes and a more confrontational message. He tackles gangsta posturing head on and derides such behaviours as indicative of the limited options to young black youth.
Fiasco is very, very good at getting his message across and of penning cleverly ambiguous couplets and phrasings. Unfortunately he seems wedded to ridiculously fast beats rather than searching for a riff or other aural hook to get booties shaking. When he gets most creative, and finds a different angle (like the almost onomatopoeiac Kick, Push) it is worth getting excited:
File under: Kinda believe the hype