Lupe Fiasco // Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 // September 25 // Atlantic
Few people in the recent hip hop memory have fallen from grace as hard as Lupe Fiasco. A man who once dropped the bombshell on Touch The Sky and then stole the show with his double of Food & Liquor and The Cool just to completely lose himself by announcing that his next album will be his last. All we received four years later is the abysmal Lasers, an album that sounds like something Childish Gambino would record if he suddenly developed flow. Fiasco has stated that Lasers is not the real him, something we”ll never fully know. What is clear though is that his new LP Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 sounds more like a kid that deserved all that praise half a decade ago.
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 has a long title, it’s a long album and it goes a long way to bridge the gap between Fiasco and his own fanbase that he himself has established by being unprolific and releasing sub par mixtapes and albums. What do you do when the things are at an all time low? That’s right, you name your album as a sequel to another album that is generally regarded that the classic that you made. Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 might have Food & Liquor in its title but while it’s nowhere near as pop as Lasers, it doesn’t come close to Food & Liquor nor it’s follow up The Cool. Where Food & Liquid was chilled out skateboarders rap, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 features Fiasco being angry and ranting at all the wrong that is happening in the world over beats that don’t necessarily feel like they were made for someone who’s trying to fit as many righteous lines in a bar as possible.
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 might be a return to form but even at his best Fiasco always had problems that he just can’t seem to be able to rid. Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 has an unnecessary long title and it’s a near perfect analogy for the way Lupe approaches his themes on here. A lot of his material seems to be based on a concept but that might as well be anything. The only thing that unites this record is Fiasco’s themes which rotate about unfair treatment of women, unfair treatment of children, unfair treatment of black people and unfair treatment of Lupe Fiasco. Most of these lines are followed by a sung chorus that reminds of jock rock bands who feel the need to skip the hook to sound big and “inspirational”. Lyrically Fiasco comes across as a less gimicky and annoying Hopsin, complete with mocking the mainstream on tracks like Bitch Bad and Lamborghini Angels, a mainstream that he is a part of. Ultimately Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 starts sounding less and less like self rediscovery and more like self cannibalism.
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 doesn’t revive the career of a once promising rapper as much as it stops the rot. Sadly Food & Liquor II doesn’t offer anything that would expand upon Lupe’s world and merely sounds like someone writing down their anti-establishment ideas on a his own bedroom wall. Very little of the record sounds like it has been made by an actual human being. It’s all far too PC and polite anarchism. Fiasco will try his hardest to influence people to change for the better but ultimately, he sounds like a man that has very little faith in humanity, losing himself in fighting a losing battle against the enemy he has created for himself, himself.