Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Lupe Fiasco: Fahrenheit 1/15 Part 1 and 2

Lupe Fiasco: Fahrenheit 1/15 Part 1 and 2

Label:no label
Format:Demo
Media:CD
Release Date:2006
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Jess Harvell | Posted 2/15/2006

Lupe Fiasco’s shtick—a pious geek—sounds deadly. He’s like a Pharrell minus the Tex Avery libido, a Common who spends his time playing Xbox instead of reading bell hooks. (Actually that last part might not be so bad.) No smoke, no drink for Mr. Fiasco, please. And he’ll thank you very much for not forgetting that you can quote the Quran and sample Revenge of the Nerds, that you can dig Paul Wall and Pink Floyd.

So Fiasco is yet another in 21st-century rap’s strangest turn of events: the clued-in dork. Pioneered by De La Soul, taken to the next level by N.E.R.D., and pushed to the top of the charts by Kanye West, the clued-in dork precariously straddles the worlds of hard-core rap and black geekdom. Vetted by Kanye and Mister Doctor Jigga, Fiasco’s definitely got one kick wedged into the door of the big time. But his breakthrough jam “Kick, Push” was about skateboarding, hardly a hot topic in an era of endless trap-house tales and out of control lyrical body counts.

In advance of his forthcoming Atlantic debut, Food and Liquor, the two volumes of Fahrenheit 1/15 are mix tapes full of the usual—freestyles over hot beats from the last 12 months and a clutch of as yet unreleased tracks. The second volume is the winner by a slight margin, with better beats and a Lupe whose flow has grown more comfortable, spitting impressively rubbery verses over “Sittin’ Sidewayz” and “Still Tippin’.” Like mentor Kanye, his theology is all fluxed up, going hard in battle rhymes one minute, rocking the sensitive-guy sweater the next. Fiasco’s definitely got skills and a marketing hook to die for. (You can see the Spin features and Hot Topic tie-ins now.) But the mix-tape format is a tad too indulgent for a gifted student looking to show off; the album will prove whether this clued-in dork can move units the way the nondorks do.

Comments powered by Disqus
Calendar
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter