302. Lupe Fiasco – “The Cool”

Diving into this potentially disappointing second album from Mr Fiasco has been a revelatory experience.

After the first listen I was certain this review would be a rant about the tendency of hip hop artists to produce distancing, indulgent second albums chock full of tales about the pitfalls of being wealthy and famous (with the accompanying irony that such whining served also as bragging).

There are a load of tracks on here that superficially touch upon such topics, evoking memories of De La Soul and Eminem‘s mid-career output.

Further (digital) spins of the album, and much closer listening (plus a little secondary research) reveals the album to more complex than that.  It is purportedly a ‘concept album’ about a character dealing with the  trials of growing up on the street, embracing hip hop, and resisting the temptation to get all criminal on us (unlike Fiasco’s business partner).

Who know?  It aint very obvious, begging the question whether it is really a successful exercise.

Irrespective, what is more apparent is that Fiasco has got adventurous in terms of structuring the music setting for his complex, captivating rhyming.  It’s a little more R&B and less funk than I would like, but he is still a talent.

File under: Lupe Fonzie


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