Lupe Fiasco: LASERS
“Love Always Shines Everytime Remember 2 Smile”
Lupe Fiasco’s much anticipated third album is a hard album to review.
I’ve already told you the history of the album countless times in this blog so there is no need to repeat myself.
Long story short, the album has been on the shelf at Atlantic Records for nearly two years due to what the record label termed a lack of mainstream material but was finally given a release date following a strong fan protest and internet petition.
In the past few weeks, Lupe has come out and said he both loves and hates LASERS. He said there was so many demands he had to give into to finally get the release date including putting songs on the album that he didn’t want to even create in the first place.
So it’s hard to tell what Lupe really wanted on the album and what he didnt because it extremely ironic that LASERS, released today, is Lupe’s most mainstream release yet.
Which begs the question, how many demands did Lupe have to give into to finally get LASERS released?
Lupe has already came out and said that the songs “Words I Never Said” and “All Black Everything” were his ideas and what most of the album should have sounded like, which is a shame, because those two songs are the most rewarding listens on LASERS where on “All Black Everything,” Lupe creates an alternate universe where slavery never existed and racism has no context and on “Words I Never Said,” he takes a look into politics, society and the failing school systems.
“There’s a bunch of other cover ups
Your child’s future was the first to go with budget cuts
If you think that hurts, then wait here comes the uppercut
The school was garbage in the first place that’s on the up and up
Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the upper crush
You get it then they move it so you never keepin up enough
If you turn on TV, all you see’s a bunch of what the (expletive)
Dude is dating so and so, blabbering about such and such
And that ain’t Jersey Shore, homie that’s the news
and these the same people supposedly telling us the truth
Limbaugh was a racist, Glen Beck is a racist, Ghaza strip
was gettin bombed but Obama didn’t say (expletive)
That’s why I didn’t vote for him, next one either
I’m a part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful
And I believe in the people” - Words I Never Said
It’s a bit of a head scratcher when I hear songs like “Out Of My Head” and “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now,” the latter of which is just a straight up dance track that could be played at a techno club (do techno clubs exist?)
“Never Forget You,” featuring John Legend, a song in which Lupe admitted he really had nothing to do with, aside from writing the lyrics, is the album’s closer and isn’t that memorable. “The Show Goes On,” the albums first single which samples Modest Mouse’s “Float On,” is a solid single and one of the album’s finest songs, but again, Lupe said he’s numb to that song because he was asked to put the song on the album 10 times before finally agreeing to do it.
Then there is songs like "State Run Radio," that mocks radio stations for playing hits that just sound the same while the public eats it up.
"think inside the box, and follow all procedures,
never ever believe that, you will never need this,
hit up all your friends and tell them to repeat this,
hi, your on the air, now what you want to hear?
well we ain't got the truth, but how about a remix?
different is never good, good is only what we pick,
you ain't got a hit, unless it sounds like these did,
not too smart you will be a superstar,
and if you dumb or something maybe you could be number one"
It’s almost as if LASERS is bipolar (too early to tell if it’s bi-winning) where we see Lupe as the conscious rapper that he is on about half the tracks and then the other half you could tell there was a major push for him to create songs just get to get spins on the radio, which is kind of a shame.
Food and Liquor and The Cool, Lupe’s first two releases, are so much more in depth and complex than LASERS and far and away more underground and less mainstream than this release.
Now, is LASERS a bad album? Not by any means but for Lupe’s standards, it’s slightly, slightly disappointing especially considering the fact it’s been nearly four years since his last release.
As Lupe said, this album is the record label's album, not entirely his and I give the rapper the benefit of the doubt in this case.
By Nick Carrabine