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Lupe Fiasco: Food and Liquor

Lupe Fiasco: Food and Liquor

Release Date:2006
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Jim Breihan | Posted 10/4/2006

Lupe Fiascoís Food and Liquor is a 21st-century throwback to the quirky, proud nerdiness of hip-hopís way back when of about 16 years ago. Fiasco is pictured on the neon-bright cover with, among other things, a Nintendo DS and a Quran, looking forward and back at the same time. On "Hurt Me Soul" he cautions against hip-hopís celebration of the thug life: "The theme songs/ That niggas hustle to seem wrong/ These songs is coming true." Thereís always been an underground bubbling over with resentment about the current state of hip-hop, hearkening back to the days of political consciousness and puppy-dog cuteness that most contemporary fans are too young to remember. Fiasco himself is only 25, and like mentor Kanye West heís a bridge between mainstream and underground, with a sound thatís unable to belong to one or the other.

Food and Liquor, Fiascoís long-delayed debut, only has one West-produced song, but most of the album has the same sound--beats that mash together orchestras and choirs, filling in every gap between the drums with melodic and harmonic filigree. The only real clunker is the first song, "Real," which lumbers along like a dinosaur where a track like Fiascoís breakthrough single "Kick, Push" skips down the sidewalk. Fiascoís flow has to be good to be able to wrap his voice around these monolithic tracks, and what he lacks in hooks he makes up for in lyrical density. He can say something like, "The books that take you to heaven and let you meet the Lord there/ Have become misinterpreted reasons for warfare," without putting himself on a pedestal--and thankfully he has as many songs about skateboarding as he does about God.

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