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As I stated in my review of laser (please go and read if you haven't already!) I am a big Lupe fan. So why not review where it all began!
Track #1 : Intro - I'm not going to rate this based on how it is as a song, instead I will rate it based on intros themselves. That being said although I'm not a fan of spoken word, the first poem heard is very deep and is a good transition to the rest of the intro track. Then the beat that comes on gets you ready for the classic you are about to hear. We also get introduced to the meaning behind Food & Liquor. "You got your good, y'know, and your bad, You got your food, and your liquor" I'd say the CD simply isn't complete without this.
Score : 10/10
Track #2 : Real (Feat. Sarah Green) - Real is like finding silver in a goldmine. It is not disappointing by any means but it is my least favorite off this classic. However I look back and look at the lyrics and there are a couple ways the lyrics can be interpreted. So who am I to say what exactly he is talking about. But I believe he goes through a couple different subjects here, including but not limited to, relationships and cheating, the drug game, and simply being poor in general. The beat is great of course, and the lyrics are very meaningful but it lacks the wordplay that we all love to hear from Lupe.
Score : 8/10
Track #3 : Just Might Be Okay (Feat. Gemini) - I don't know where to start with this song. Well I'll try to start with the foundation, the beat. The beat is great, I really don't know how to describe it. The best I can do is say it's like the beat is building up to something amazing, which it does. Next we have the lyrics. Once again, I'm almost speechless. This is where Lupe shines, the perfect metaphors and wordplay "I back-flipped on the mattress they slept on me on" to the perfect flows "I ain't an accredited instituted graduate, I ain't from Nazareth
My conception wasn't immaculate, I ain't master no calculus" This song is just amazing. Then we have the hook, very simple but to the point.
Score : 10/10
Track #4 : Kick, Push - Kick, Push is essentially a story about a young skater, and their "struggles". It's a great story, and has a great flow, however there is no overly complex rhyme scheme or wordplay that I love to see from Lupe. The beat is relaxing and the hook pushes the theme of the story.
Score : 8.5/10
Track #5 : I Gotcha (Feat. Pharrell) - Okay let me start by saying I love this beat. Especially the piano. I'll also say I feel like this song is very under rated. The wordplay in this song is off the charts. "I warn y'all cornballs I Hush Puppies" and "I'm on my pimp, my temperature is tempura, I take it easy on my watch I'm watchin' TV" are just two examples. Then the hook is about Lupe bringing back real hip-hop to music. Great song.
Score : 9/10
Track #6 : The Instrumental (Feat. Jonah Matranga) - Perfection. One of my hands down favorites from this classic album. Produced by Mike Shinoda, this beat is hard to describe and samples Nestle by Far, I wish I knew more about instruments so I could describe it better but unfortunately I'll just have to say it's amazing. This is another story by Lupe Fiasco, this song addresses some of the problems with television and how sucked up in it someone can become. Wordplay and metaphors are off the charts. The hook is just great, talking about how it causes people to no longer have an opinion for themselves. The bridge is perfect as well talking about how everything we buy is because of something/someone or to cover something up.
Score : 10 /10
Track #7 : He Say She Say (Feat. Gemini and Sarah Green) - Another classic story. Rappers tell the "My father wasn't around" story a lot but none do it quite as well as Lupe. What makes this one special is it talks about the subject matter from different perspectives. Beat and hook are great. Storytelling is wonderful. Classic song.
Score : 10 / 10
Track #8 : Sunshine - This track is goood, the beat is great. It's hardly a stand out track but it suits the feel of the album and how it works. It doesn't stack up wordplay wise as some of the others sure, but it works. I do however love the line "out of all the millions of numbers in the world, just leave me a few, that lead to you."
Score : 9/10
Track #9 : Daydreamin' (Feat. Jill Scott) - Classic. Jill Scott gets the job done on the hook, absolutely amazing. Beat is great. Lyrics are great starts off with the robot metaphor expanding into the ghetto neighborhood and why he's daydreaming. I really don't know what else to say. This song is amazing, perfect 10.
Score : 10/10
Track #10 : The Cool - Another great story by Lupe Fiasco about a gangster who's business eventually got him killed. Another great beat for Lupe to go on, the hook is about how living in the moment is great and everything but what about when it goes wrong. "Hustler for death, no heaven for a gangsta". Lyric wise, it's a great story and is definitely worthy of being on this album.
Score : 9.5/10
Track #11: Hurt Me Soul - This song took me a while to enjoy when I first listened. This is about Lupe's journey to becoming a rapper. It sort of hits home. Wordplay is amazing here of course. Great beat, and perfect hook. If you had asked me a couple years ago I probably wouldn't have given this song over an 8.
Score : 10/10
Track #12 : Pressure (Feat. Jay-Z) - This song never gets old. The beat is amazing, especially the piano line. Lupe's verse filled with his epic metaphors and wordplay. I mean his first line is "And so it seems that I'm sewing jeans And 1st and 15th is just a sewing machine, So I cut the pattern and I sew in seams, And button in this hustling then publically I'm Buddy Lee" Enough said. Then the hook is great, followed by another great lupe verse. Then comes the only other rapper on this album. Jay-Z's verse is great. Excellent track on an amazing album.
Score : 10/10
Track #13 : American Terrorist (Feat. Matthew Santos) - The start of a beautiful relationship between Lupe and Matthew Santos. Great hook, and very deep song meaning. Flow and wordplay are on point of course. Would love to go into more detail but I feel like I'm making these too long already. Beat is great of course.
Score : 10/10
Track #14 : The Emperor's Soundtrack - Another classic. The beat is hard to describe, almost like you are ascending to some type of greater plane. Meaningful lyrics surrounded by intense wordplay make this song another classic Lupe Fiasco song. The hook gets the job done, perfect for this song.
Score : 10/10
Track #15 : Kick, Push II - The sequel to Kick, Push, it continues the story and focuses more on the home life of the original protagonist. The hook is talking about escaping from life, many people can relate to this in their lives at some point. The story here is deeper and has more meaning to me, which is why I'm giving this a higher score than the original.
Score : 9/10
Track #16 : Outro - Once again not going to rank this as a song but I'm going to rank it as an outro. Basically this is a shoutout track, using the same beat from the intro. It's a great outro by all means, the only thing that gets me is how long this damn thing is.
Score : 9.5/10
Lupe Fiasco's classic debut CD is laced together perfectly, completely utilizing his verbal arsenal and storytelling ability to show both the good (Food) and the bad (Liquor) of his life, ghetto neighborhoods, and people's lives. This album is a must listen classic.
Final Rating : 9.5/10
This is a pretty good debut from Chicago resident, Lupe Fiasco, showing some of the flare of his buddy Kanye West (You may remember him from West's Touch the Sky, where he performs a verse in excellent fashion), he eschews traditional hip hop slatings and tall tales for a really experimental approach, rhyming in new and innovative fashion.
His first album, Food and Liquor is a mixed bag with some outstanding songs and some real filler.
The album includes the excellent, 'Kick, Push' which is a chilled out slice of rap mixed with pop, there is a wonderful song called Daydreamin (Samplin Daydream in Blue) and allowing the wonderful Jill Scott to show her vocal range. Other highlights include 'Real' which is very rock influenced for a rap song and 'The Cool' a weird and beautiful little song which seems influenced by old school rock as much as current hip hop and R&B.
Ok, the intro is never going to be a big part of the album, but at least this is well thought through as a woman recites poetry and introduces the star of the show, I guarantee you'll not need to hear it again though, the intro and the ending are both listenable once only.
Bringing music back to being 'real', Lupe Fiasco talks about taking rap back from the commercial and the thug like and making it real, about real experiences, a modern poetic take on the blues rather than one man's mission to dismiss women and foes over a beat. This is stylish, unconventional, thoughtful and thought provoking, utterly cool and doesn't lose content over style at any point.
3.Just Might Be OK
A fast beat with some really excellent rhymes over the top, its almost like Lupe Fiasco wants to show off his skills early on the album. This is fun, creative and really well put together, its not the best track on the album, but it is well thought through and worth further listens.
I love this tune, its an ode to Skateboarding and love, its fresh and still sounds it now, the rhyming is different to most i've heard and the beat is really interesting and dynamic, this is definitely a stand out track and worthy of repeated listening.
This smells of the Neptunes, they produced this and the thumping bass really sounds like one of their tracks but with this wonderfully inventive young rapper taking the lead and spitting his own words out over them. This is a tad more commercial than most of the album, but nonetheless this isn't soft or too poppy its just a bit more commercial musically, the raps are still well thought out and maintained.
An interesting track produced by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, this is different to most hip hop tunes and is incredibly inventive, the song itself is questioning of media influence and how we are almost en thrall of machines and television over our patriarchs and respected friends. Its a really cool tune and one of the most inventive and thoughtful on the album.
7.He Say She Say
A very interesting tune sung in first and third person telling the tale of a child trying to grow up and make it without a father. I liked this, its sentimental, thought provoking and as consistently proven on this album, intelligently performed and produced.
A sweet little love song. For me this is one of the weaker songs on the album, although it still displays good pop and hip hop sensibilities overall, it just feels a little bit fluffy and weak.
A cool song with a weird and wonderful sample, I like this, its poppy and fun and Jill Scott is as powerful and amazing as always, this is simply a great pop song with some excellent rhymes laid over it.
A second chance for a man who did wrong, but he does it again, this is a creepy sounding track with some superb rhyming from Fiasco, it shows his story telling prowess and reminds me a lot of Nas in this respect.
11.Hurt Me Soul
I love this, a hip hop song questioning some of the older school attitudes displayed in hip hop, this is an eloquent riposte to some of the sexist, malevolent trash that passes for hip hop, it is well structured and Fiasco isn't angry, just honest and refreshingly so.
12.Pressure ft Jay-Z
A decent track as our hero discussed pressure under some bass heavy beats, he is joined by Jay-Z for a chorus and the ubiquitous Jigga man provides his usual flair, style and substance and shows the high regard this debutant must be held in to gain such star guests on his debut album.
A really thoughtful track on the world and America's foreign policy, Fiasco questions whether the attitude of some American's might actually encourage others to behave reprehensibly to them, this is done in a thoughtful measured way and is simply thought provoking rather than angry and destructive. This is a really good song that does what good art should and really makes you think.
14.The Emperor's Soundtrack
This is a decent enough song, although it feels like filler to me, it drags somewhat and while Fiasco continues to rhyme with flow and verve, the tune itself is a tad dull.
15.Kick, Push II
A fine story about escaping isolation and bad times through skateboarding, this is one of the darker songs on the album, but Fiasco has a fantastic knack for developing these stories and makes it enthralling.
This is an incredibly long thank you to anyone who ever helped him, its not something you will listen to more than once, although it does show the young fella is a respectful young man who really appreciates the opportunity he has to show his skills on record.
The album title reflects on Fiasco as a man, apparently as a young muslim he recounts that the food represents the good and the liquor the bad part of him.
This is an interesting album with production from Kanye, the Neptunes and Linkin Park and guest appearances from Jay-Z and Jill Scott, its a really promising debut which shows a young rapper filled with fresh ideas which he wants to introduce. I enjoyed this no end and found his approach really thought provoking, as debuts go its not a classic but is a damned good album nonetheless.
Its good to hear positive hip-hop and a desire to take it back to the music and the telling of a good story, with people like Fiasco, Common, Nas and Jurrasic 5 still spitting beats this offers a wonderful alternative to some of the less enjoyable facets of hip hop.
The album is available on I-Tunes or from Amazon for £5.25, it is cheaper on Marketplace or Ebay and I would definitely recommend a listen for this 4 out of 5 album.
"Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor" was the debut album from the Chicago MC, Lupe Fiasco. The Mid-Western Hip Hopper was seen to take great influence form fellow Chi-Town native, Kanye West, who had just made it big at the time (2006) in the fact that he contrasted so greatly from the general Gangsta Rap which dominated the Hip Hop world at the time.
After a long introduction from the artist, you have him performing a track which seem to be a recurring thing in the album as you have him do a track which speaks on real-life thing which he has experienced in his life, and going on advise from those around him, he chooses to do this record with this in mind, and not talk for long on things which don't deal with what the world is really about (unlike the superficial thing manner focus on).
3. "Just Might Be OK"
This is a very lively way to get things going as you are still in the early stages of the thin, and it really wakes you up in the way that the producer, Prolyfic chooses to come with lots of energetic things to get it all going, and back Lupe in a way that he feels comfortable. It is an experimental one, to the stage where I couldn't keep up with his themes, but it is a fair one and must be 'slept on'.
4. "Kick, Push"
This is the track which Lupe debuted with, and it had him break through as something completely new to the game as he appeared to be a skater rapper. Although this track concentrates around the life of a skate, and their rebellion against all around them, truly he isn't really a skater, as it immerged alter, and this may be a good one, the 'realness' which the album was supposed to be about seemed to fall apart this early on.
5. "I Gotcha"
This was another of the bigger singles to come off the album, and I saw it as one of the best that you find on the album as you see him rapping on top of what are some very different beats from The Neptunes. Pharrell has worked with him a lot since here, and this early stage in the relationship gives you nothing but hope for the future as he claims to bring nothing be realness, unlike the fakeness most rappers of his time seemed to come out with.
6. "The Instrumental"
Being used on a couple of game soundtracks, I'm sure that I few will recognize it, and I felt that for this reason it seems to stand out a little more on the album, and it even brings back a few memories (despite being that long ago when it dropped). The fact that Mike Shinoda is behind the beats doesn't really do much more me, but I felt that this slightly more matured alt Hip Hop production meant that Lupe was able to easily adapt.
7. "He Say, She Say"
This one is sample-rich, but as I can't say that I recognized any of the ones which were used, it did every little for me, and I can't say that it effected the way I looked on it as I hear the rhymes which came from it. I thought that the lay-out to it was quite strong, but the way he goes about flowing really puts me off as it never changes and at times the way he uses excessive enjambment means that it takes away from the tune.
I have to say that this is one of a fair few tracks on the album which really don't stand out at all. As a result it is a tune which you are likely to forget about quickly, and this can never be a good thing for it as there are a few big lines on this track, but Soundtrakk's beats just don't say enough for you to really take much notice of it.
I expect more to recognise the sample used in this song, and from hear you find him do a track which basically take from the original and stays in the same sort of dream-like state which the first recorded was built on, and this strange atmosphere allows you engage with the music in a way which isn't capable with many of the others found here.
10. "The Cool"
This title was used for the name of his second album, and so it must have a certain degree of significance to it, and I felt that this was transferred into some quality material on this one as it finds him on top of some hot breakbeats to give it a certain feel which differs quite a lot from what else you get on here. He drops big things on this one, and it is one which you should really look out for as it is one of few I would say is really worth a listen.
11. "Hurt Me Soul"
Although not getting the chance to be dropped as a single, this was a track which attracted a lot of attention due to the fact that it has him speak on wide issues concerning the Hip Hop world (at the perfect time as it coincided with the 'Hip Hop Is Dead' movement). It has him rap satirically about how the Hip Hop world is plagued with misogyny, violence and drug references. Although he says all this, he understands that he once fell for all this at one pint, but is only now understanding how he can break free of it all.
Here you get him alongside Jay-Z in the only Hip Hop collaboration on the album, and I felt as though the influence of the other artist meant that it seemed as though he was forcing the change in the sound of the music in order to make it sound like something that we are much more likely to connect with. For this reason I was put off by it, and it was disappointing (not that Young Hov did too badly).
13. "American Terrorist"
This one finds him on top of some funky beats, and it makes a great difference to the quality of things as it seems to lift it all a lot and make it sound a lot better than elsewhere on the album, and I felt as though it made his flow sound much better in general as a result of this. There's a lot to like about this, but the Latino thing (which goes to the extreme in the chorus) put me off a little. I was glad that he didn't choose to go too political hear, and it came across better for this reason.
14. "The Emperor's Soundtrack"
This came as the final single off the album and it finds him doing another tune to express his originality and uniqueness in comparison to those others out there. It has him take the basic structure of Slick Rick's "Children's Story", and the same sort of subjects come through, but in a much more darker light .I felt that it ended rather abruptly, possibly even before I had a chance to engage fully with it.
15. "Kick, Push II"
In a track which revisits the biggest singles from the album you have him do a tune which has him drop all the light-heartedness which he started off with, and go for something a bit darker (and more in-tune with what the rest of the album is saying) as it has him speak more on what such a skater lifestyle involves, and its complexity beyond just doing tricks. It is significantly worse than the original, but others may feel differently towards it.
Although I liked a few of the tracks here, it seemed to stay on around the same level throughout. I expect many to think differently towards it as he is clearly doing lots of original and unique things on the album, but for me, a lot of it was rather forced, and so didn't really suit my tastes, but if you like at least three (to a fair degree), then you will probably like the whole thing.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 2 Real - Lupe Fiasco & Sarah Green
3 Just Might Be OK - Lupe Fiasco & Gemini
4 Kick Push
5 I Gotcha
6 Instrumental - Lupe Fiasco & Jonah Matranga
7 He Say She Say - Lupe Fiasco & Gemini/Sarah Green
9 Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco & Jill Scott
11 Hurt Me Soul
12 Pressure - Lupe Fiasco & Jay-Z
13 American Terrorist - Lupe Fiasco & Matthew Santos
14 Emperor's Soundtrack
15 Kick Push II