Conscious Rap Returns on “Food and Liquor II”
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 23:09
Now 30-years-old and quite acclaimed in the hip-hop world, Lupe Fiasco has released several studio albums and countless mixtapes. Having released his latest studio album “Lasers” just last year, he drops his second installment to “Food and Liquor” (2006), this time entitled “Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Vol. 1”.
Inviting in listeners with a heart wrenching poem spoken by a female about the struggle of inner cities and a confused generation, entitled “Ayesha Says”, Lupe Fiasco sets the tone for his thoughtful and reflective album. Illustrating the ongoing crises of racial tensions, injustice and poverty, he opens eyes, ears and hearts to the brokenness of our society, specifically, of inner-city Black youth. Lupe wears his roots on his sleeve; however, his disappointment is just as strong as his pride.
Lupe Fiasco recognizes the flawed nature of the urban public school system; or rather, public school systems in all kinds of environments. Desiring to spread the word, he speaks of the absence of dedication to students and underprivileged teens. More lessons are being taught in the slums than in the schools. On his second track, “Hood Now”, he raps “public school system only teaching parts, so the school of hard knocks is what makes you street smart.” Discussed also are the defects of our nation. He mentions Trayvon Martin while revealing to listeners the hidden motives of law enforcement, along with the sickening prejudices and twisted nature of our justice system. Lupe is, quite frankly, a prophet.
Without a doubt, this is not a cheery album; however, it is gripping and real. It’s designed for contemplation, not the club. Lupe delves into issues that make people uncomfortable, digging below the surface of a materialistic and success-hungry world and pointing out the social injustices and decaying factors that surround our nation. Lupe brings up thought-provoking issues such as teen pregnancy, prostitution, violence, and reliance on drugs and substances within the adolescent and adult world. Lupe reaffirms “Everything’s hostile, “…suicide bombers and prosperity gospels, emaciated models” in a song entitled “Around My Way”.
The overall sound of “Food and Liquor II” is clear and melodic and the beats are alluring. Recycling some of the bass lines, instrumentation, and texture of “Lasers”, the album proves to be a fantastic succession. The album is a fusion of hip hop and underground rap, placing more emphasis on lyrics as opposed to aesthetics.
Highlights on the album include: “Lamborghini Angels”: a song dedicated to afterlife, religion, and its positive and negative effects on society and “How Dare You? (Feat. Bilal): one of the few soft “slow jam” songs in which Lupe describes his love for a woman who won’t return his affection. Another personal favorite is “Unforgivable Youth”, a poetic representation of Lupe’s regrets and mistakes from adolescence.
The epitome of conscious rap, “Food and Liquor II” evokes in listeners a sense of social awareness, realism, and hope for the future. By way of pensive lyrics and thoughtful themes, all spoken over solid beats, Lupe Fiasco once again claims his role in the rap game.