Music Review – Lupe Fiasco, Food and Liquor
“In high school I was the cool nerd”, Lupe Fiasco recently told GQ, where he was featured as one of 2006′s “Men of the Year”. “I was from the hood so I could relate to the gangstas. But I also talked about The Simpsons and comic books and rock’n’roll”. Perhaps this duality is what makes Fiasco’s brilliant genre-crossing debut Food & Liquor not only universally appealing, but a fresh contrast to the cash and bling obsessed world of hip-hop where, let’s face it, things have grown a bit stale.
25-year-old Fiasco, an Islamic MC from Chicago, has had quite a journey just seeing the release of his first album through. After a brief signing with Epic as a member of Da Pak, a canceled solo deal with Arista, various guest spots including a scene-stealing cameo on Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky”, and a leak of an unfinished version of Food & Liquor, Lupe Fiasco has finally come to claim his place in the annals of hip-hop. Funny thing is, he makes a point of sagely communicating life on the streets without resorting to hip-hop cliches, particularly the degradation of women, as noted in the track “Hurt Me Soul” (“I used to hate hip-hop Lupe Fiasco food & liquor because of the women degraded, but Too Short made me laugh, like a hypocrite I played it”).
On “Kick, Push” Fiasco expands the boundaries of hip-hop further in his tale of a young man who is consumed with skateboarding. Played over a looped horn section that rivals Charles Mingus “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” the skater, so involved with his craft, tells the love of his life, “I would marry you but I’m engaged to these aerial’s and varials, and I don’t think this board is strong enough to carry two”. Elsewhere on the album, Fiasco creates a modern day “Summertime” with the ready-made classic “Daydreamin” (which samples I Monster’s “Daydream in Blue”) featuring the incomparable Jill Scott on vocals.
Whether Lupe Fiasco will have the commercial appeal to rival his peers is to be seen, but one thing is for certain; he has made a much needed album that withstands classification and will surely captivate fans of of all genres of good music.