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39 of 43 found the following review helpful:
He's the rap game's sunshine. Sep 28, 2006
By Crystalline Green
I can't express in words how much I love this album. There's some albums I just vibe to right away, and then there's some I start liking after a few listens. This was the former. Upon my first listen I was bobbing my head to the beats with a smile on my face. I agree with a lot of reviewers when they said that this is just what hip hop needed. The majority of rap is being plagued by mediocre mc's who care more about their chain and their street cred then the lyrics they let flow from their mouth. It's time people supported REAL MUSIC. Favorites include "Kick push" "Instrumental" "Sunshine" "Daydreamin" "He Say She Say" and "Hurt Me Soul". I can't even really pick a bad song on the entire album. Go out and get this now!!!
16 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Lupe Fiasco- Get Full Off of THIS! (Wow! Incredible!) Sep 20, 2006
By Rodnick Darden
All I can say to begin this is that the kid is something special! Then again, I really knew that from the moment he spit his verse on Kanye's Touch The Sky. It had me asking who was that on the last verse of that track cause that boy is hot. His verse totally outshined Kanye on his own track. I knew he was on the verge of putting his own album out. Once I heard word that it was dropping sometime this summer, I was in anticipation ever since. The most anticipation that I have had for an album in a long time cause you knew that he was going to come with that hip hop you wanted to hear and longing for. It kept upsetting me when the release date got pushed back twice. It must have been that it was so hot that it kept leaking on the Internet. That's when you know you DO have something special.
Finally, Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor came out yesterday and I must say he did not disappoint and totally exceeded expectations. The whole album from start to finish is truly a blessing to the game and world of hip hop and if you are a fan of true music, this is a CD for you! Like the album cover suggests, he takes a lot of different elements & layers (thoughts and feelings) of himself and blends them into the center of his life and that is through the stereo for us to hear. He blends in a lot of styles, patterns and beats as he has the definite hip hop flavor along with some soulful blues, jazz and rock. I have not heard something like this in a long time if ever where he goes back to the roots of hip hop while all in the while he just has tremendous wordplay, creativity in the way he gives his tracks (the way he gives the story) with a great delivery and flow in where he starts slow but by the middle & end of verses he picks it up and goes real fast-paced (like 100 words a minute) as he gives you true, real hip hop. I'll be brief but just want to give you a background on the tracks.
It all starts with the intro which leads into Real, a strong emphasized start and great beginning as he tries to tell you that he's about to give you something REAL! Just Might Be OK is a pretty good track, and I think is saying that we might be ok if we start dealing the real in more ways than one (not just rap). Kick Push is one of the best singles of the year! Just imagine a young black man from the inner city rapping about skateboarding and making it tight! But there is the point that it was his way of escaping the harsh realities and negativity of where he grew up and the world. It was his coping mechanism, the same way writing is for me. It is how he deals with pain. Excellent song! Then comes probably one of my three favorite cuts on the album, I Gotcha. Pharrell produced this track and I love the beat as it is laced with a classical piano style. Lupe is just saying that look no further if you want the real (there is that word again) cause he's gotcha. The Instrumental is a song I heard off Madden and just love it(produced by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, another favorite of mine). Still trying to figure out the concept, but I get that it is hip hop in general mocking itself and the negatives of society and just saying redundant stuff and taking away their own voices, and all you have left is the beat which leaves you with just an instrumental. If that is it, ingenious! He Say She Say is a song we can not talk about enough when it comes to this issue and that is absentee fathers in the hood/black community. It is a mother and son (might be Lupe himself) talking to the father trying to get him to be the man he is suppose to be and be there for his son. There should be no wonder why young black men are dying or being locked up cause no one was there to show the way. As Lupe says, there was no positive male role model to play football with or to build railroad models. One last deep lyric was that saying that his mom was his #1 fan: But it's like your booing from the stands (the father) and you know the world is out to get me/ So won't you give me a chance. The world is definitely out to get blacks especially black men and prey on the young ones, even moreso when they have no sense of direction. They can get aggressive cause there is no one there to calm them and tell them how to channel their feelings which can lead to disaster. Very heartfelt track and I love how the two R&B singers (Sarah Green and Gemini) go back and forth with the chorus at the end as if they were trying to reach each other like parents would in that case. Sunshine is a great track for women that does not degrade them none so ever where he compares a certain one to all that takes up space in the sky and universe. Very nice! Daydreamin' with Jill Scott is just down right creative. It hits home on how hip hop has become one big daydream in the sense that you can write yourself in your own image and make it look street but it not really be you so you can sell records and how videos & lifestyles of most of these rappers has become fiction with all the cars, clothes, houses, guns and women they say they have in glorifying material things. One of the best tracks! Period. The Cool, produced by Kanye, gives a situation where someone rises from the dead to review the life they lived and that's trying to be gangsta for whatever reason. As Lupe I believes tries to deliver, living that lifestyle and trying to look and act cool only leads to an early meeting with the grave. Another splendid and creative track! Hurt Me Soul is another one of those soulful tracks and I song I can relate to again. He speaks not just us as fans, but even himself getting sucked into the way hip hop has become and letting it go on. But only with him, it hurts him so cause he knows hip hop can be more if we all just reached deeper. But he relays that about the world in how all the things that have went down have penetrated our ways and affected us. The Pressure with Jay-Z is a great track, and it doesn't even crack my top five (And I one of the biggest Hov fans). That should tell you how great this album is right there where a track with Jay doesn't outshine a lot of songs. American Terrorists has a kind of different sound to it as it sounds like an African-type of beat with its drum patterns and sort of flutes in the back. The deal with this song is how we are dealing with terrorists in our communities with the police and our own country with the government and how we need to become terrorists to them by learning all we can with our education cause that is the truly the only way we can fight back. Outstanding message that he delivers! The Emperor's Soundtrack and Kick Push II end off the album (both great tracks) and he puts his shout-outs and thank yous on wax instead of in the back of the booklet as he goes on for about 11 minutes. Kind of long, but nice touch! (I know this was long, but bare with me cause there was so much to tell about this album that I tried to shorten it as much as I could but still give you things that could make you see that this album is a must have. Tryin' to influence and sell you on something so rare in these times.)
In the end, this whole product just works, man! The beats, the production, the blend, the writing, the stories and concepts. This is where the whole is DEFINITELY greater than the sum of its parts because it all adds up to make a must-have album. We all have been looking to get back to some down-to-earth, not fantasy, but true real hip hop. Lupe has help show the way along with a couple of others like Little Brother and Kanye to an extent. It's almost totally clean as well as he curses maybe 10-11 times through the whole album and it is still a hot product (flashback to the days of Rakim perhaps). How many rap artists can pull that off? And Jay-Z (not Shawn Carter, but Jay-Z; inspiration for a comeback? Hmmm. Pretty much.) executive produced this without Lupe being on Def Jam which should tell you something as well. This is an instant classic in my opinion, definitely in my top 25 favorite rap albums. This is almost a 100% shoe-in for rap album of the year, most definitely new artist of the year! Mostly it takes a couple of listens to a CD before I know I love it, but I knew off the bat what my outcome and judgment was like I did for Blueprint, Stillmatic, The Minstrel Show and others like it in the past few years when great hip hop has dwindled. Simply loved it! Truly a gem and jewel amongst a lot of trash. I also finally found someone in the hip hop game I can truly relate to these days. If you are into Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Common, Nas, Rakim, the deep side of Pac, KRS-ONE, Little Brother in some ways and even Jay in some ways or just looking for a touch of the real, go out and get this album: NOW!
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
Lupe Delivers on Food & Liquor Sep 20, 2006
By Ivan Rott
In the midst of the "hip-hop is dead" stigma that currently plagues the game looms a young visionary from the windy city set to make a positive impact: meet Lupe Fiasco. Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the past year, you should know the name by now; after commercially premiering as a guest on Kanye West's smash hit "Touch the Sky", Lupe Fiasco became a house-hold name over-night for many, earning a legion of fans in a nearly cult-like following. Deemed by many as a "representative" for the "next generation of hip-hop," and backed by none other than Jay-Z, the "president of hip-hop", Lupe Fiasco has established a strong position in the game in a relatively short amount of time. With high anticipation partly fueled by a couple leaked versions of the album, deemed "classics" by many hip-hop critics, does the official release of Food & Liquor live up to the hype?
"Kick Push", a vivid and heartfelt ode to skateboarding, was Food & Liquor's first single. In spite of the track's high praises and success, many argued that Lupe was just a "skateboard rapper", whatever that means. Food & Liquor tears down any misconceptions people may have had, as Lupe proves that he is in fact a very intricate and multi-faceted individual. A practicing Muslim, Lupe starts off the album with a message in Arabic: "Bismillah hir-Rahma nir-Raheem" (translation: "In the name of Allah, the most Kind and the most Merciful.") Over a speaker-thumping beat, Lupe explains his philosophy: "the world and everything in it is made up of a mix of two things: you've got your good, and your bad. You've got your food and your liquor." This philosophy represents the constant tug-of-war he and others face: the struggle between good (food) & bad (liquor, which is prohibited in Islam). Appropriately, Lupe finds a way to balance conscious, thought provoking material with fun-loving cuts as well; but don't be fooled: Lupe maintains his integrity as a smart and skillful lyricist throughout the entire album.
Over ferocious drums and horns, Lupe sets things straight on "Just Might Be OK": "I'm cool I don't foretell best/ I ain't nicest emcee/ I ain't Cornel West/ I am Cornel Westside/ Chi-Town Guevara/ Malcolm X asides the demons/ gangsta leanin'." The track is a complex tale of a youngster going through life and its many challenges. And storytelling is what Lupe does best as is evident on tracks such as "The Cool", where he showcases the tale of a hustler's life. In less than 4 minutes, Lupe is able to brilliantly portray what top notch gangster flicks take 2 hours to present.
Dedicated to "everybody out there", "Hurt Me Soul", arguably Food & Liquor's most compelling track, depicts the tale of Lupe's artistic development and approaches to music and life: ""Gangsta rap base filmings became the building blocks for children/ With leaking ceilings catching drippings with pots/ Coupled with compositions from 'Pac, Nas' 'It Was Written'/ In the mix with my realities and feelings/ Living conditions/ Religion/ Ignorant wisdom and artistic vision/ I began to jot, tap the world and listen." Lupe never shies away from being perfectly honest with his audience: "Now I ain't tryin' to be the greatest/ I used to hate hip-hop/ Yup! Because the women degraded/ But Too $hort made me laugh/ Like a hypocrite I played it/ A hypocrite I stated though I only recited half/ Omitting the word 'b***h'..."
On "Daydreamin'", a track that samples I Monster's "Daydream in Blue", Lupe holds his own alongside powerhouse singer Jill Scott, not to mention a guest spot from none other than Jay-Z on "Pressure" where Lupe boasts he's got "A little "BIG" in the waist/ `2pac'/two pocket on the back." Lupe's proficient creativity with wordplay is evident, even on down-to-earth tracks such as the love-themed "Sunshine" where he quips: "Never met her before/ But I think I like her like a metaphor/ She's hard to get."
Taking full advantage of his ingenuity and cleverness, Lupe plays the role of philosopher as well; Lupe shows his versatility and fluidity on "The Instrumental" as he spits over a rock-influenced beat dropping gems in the process: "He just sits and watches the people in the boxes/ Everything he sees he absorbs and adopts it/ He mimics and he mocks it/ Really hates the box but he can't remember how to stop it/ So he continues to watch it/ Hoping that it can give him something that he can box with/ Or how to locksmith/ See the box is locked in the box/ Ain't got the combination to unlock it/ That's why he watches." Here Lupe argues that boxes (television) brainwash and dumb us down, rendering us mute, hence the name of the track: "The Instrumental."
Lupe dishes out social insight and commentary as well on the straightforwardly titled cut "American Terrorist", a political track focusing on the current war(s) in the Middle East: "The books that take you to heaven and let you meet the Lord there/ Have become misinterpreted reasons for warfare." From slavery to modern-day racism in the United States, Lupe retraces events that pose the question: who really is a terrorist?
As the album's title would indicate, the key ingredient to Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor is balance. Covering a wide spectrum of topics and issues, Lupe maintains equilibrium between consciousness and intellectualism as well as care-free living. Furthermore, Lupe's ability to attract such a diverse audience, from indie to commercial listeners, and from boisterous Linkin Park fans to even the most elitist of hip-hop purists, additionally indicates his great promise as the "future of hip-hop." With Food & Liquor, Lupe has successfully crafted a blueprint that will certainly influence and hopefully re-kindle hip-hop's flickering light, by sparking and inspiring the minds of the next generation.
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Knowledge doesn't sell but it's power Jan 09, 2007
By S. Myles-Adams
Lupe Fiasco will never be a platinum artist, he should be. This album is just what we need to hear, but don't want to hear. It is filled with unobtrusive, non-offensive lyrics and very few of the multitude will ever respect it or honor it. The music followes the concepts and it is hard to not be receptive. Because it is not gimmickly and is straight to the point is why most won't like it. There is no reason unless someone just likes to hear crooning why this CD should not be on the lips of the media.
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
A Little Late But Right On Time Sep 20, 2006
By D. Morgan
Finally the wait is over. I'm going to say it right now, Food & Liquor is best cd of 2006 bar none!
When I got my advance copy I didn't know what to expect because I had already heard so many of the leaked records, it was interesting to see what songs didn't make the final cut (Lupe The Killer, Happy Industries, and the alternate version of Kick Push II among others). However what did make the cut is a treasure trove of real hip hop music. Lupe goes completely left and touches on topics no other MC has come even close to doing in recent years. Standout tracks include, well the whole thing! See this is one of the few complete cds that you can put on and just leave on. 'He Say She Say', 'Sunshine', and 'The Cool' all show Lupe's storytelling skills brightly. 'American Terrorist' is excellent and if released will surely get people talking. `The Instrumental' is hot and highlights Lupe's lyrical skills well. 'Hurt Me Soul' is a great introspective track and again like nothing any hip hop MC has released in a while.
The production is on point, guests appearances limited but certainly talented, so if you don't have it, go get it and tell a friend!
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