Written By: White Chicks On Rap
Let me take you back to Lupe’s first album “Food & Liquor,” on which a track called, “He Say, She Say,” speaks about two characters: “The Streets” and “The Game.” Lupe brings them back on his second album, “The Cool,” which was recorded during a dark period in the rapper’s life.
Since “Food and Liquor,” Lupe Fiasco not only lost his father, but his closest friend/business partner Charles “Chilly” Patton who was sentenced to 44 years in prison on drug charges. The darkness is reflected in most of the album’s songs, like “Free Chilly,” in which Fiasco misses his friend and wishes he could set him free.
Lupe, unlike most rappers, is not following a certain clique/scene, evident through the rapper’s sampling of and working with rock and electronica acts (Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy produced “Little Weapons” and UNKLE produced “Hello/Goodbye (Uncool).“
In “Hello/Goodbye (Uncool),” Lupe raps over UNKLE’s Chemlab-style beats; the songs speaks about the lies and wars we fight for no reason and the evitable darkness it brings.
Fictional character, The Streets, makes her appearance on “Streets On Fire,” which speaks of a disease spreading with no hope and that “death is on the tip of her tongue and dangers at the tip of her fingers/streets are on fire tonight.”
“Put You On Game” (told by “The Game”) is equally as dark and menacing. The line “I’m glad your daddy’s gone, baby/Hope he never comes back/I hope he’s with your mother” is heartless, but paints a superb portrait of a heartless world. The latter song’s complete opposite, “Paris/Toyko” is cheery and up-beat, “You have to ask yourself why am I stressing when there is a world to explore ?”
Listening to Lupe you can hear and feel his intelligence. This is a man who knows what’s going on in the world and isn’t afraid to talk about it. I am interested to see where Lupe goes next as he’s one rapper who focuses more on the skill of rapping and storytelling rather than just making a flashy video, or rapping shit over a shitty beat!