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Lupe Fiasco returns here with his long awaited album Laser. Lupe Fiasco has become one of the biggest rappers in the world, and this album went straight in at No1 in the US and sold over 200,000 copies in the first week. It is quite interesting that Lupe himself has said that he hates many elements of this album. It seems like half the album he was forced to make the type of tracks that his label wanted him to make which is more music that appeals to the masses and then the other half is his own type of music. This is pretty evident and as usual I will review my favourite tracks.
Words I never Said
If anyone wants to get a feeling for Lupe and his music then check this track out. It features Skylar Grey, formerly known as Holly Brook. You may know her from the Fort Minor track Where'd you go and the track with Dr Dre and Eminem which is I need a Doctor. It is excellent track with a very heavy beat and Skylar comes in strong in the hook. It is also a bit of a shout out towards his label saying that he can't take back the words he never said. The lyrics are very strong and cover many topics in religion, racism and terrorism. It is a nice change from the usual rappers that rap about money, girls and cars.
The Show Goes On
This was the first single released from the album and you can see why. It is an excellent track and one where Lupe also sings during the hook as well. It is a little more commercially than his deepest stuff, but it has a very catchy beat. I take it back on what I said on the above paragraph. If you want to see Lupe in full flow then check this track. Lyrically it is also very strong and he raps strongly about how kids from the ghetto can make it, and he himself has showed it is proof you can make it. His rapping is very smooth and there are a lot of awesome puns used and he should have a contest with Childish Gambino about who can spit out the coolest lines in a track.
This is most people's favourite track on the album and it is not hard to see why. There is a strong beat, an awesome hook and awesome lyrics. He really goes in hard here rapping about how he doesn't need a reason to fulfil his potential but it's easier with reasons. The background beat is also accompanied by an awesome electric guitar which reminds me of many of his tracks from previous albums namely when he produced Superstar.
State Run Radio
This is the track that I have played the most on the album and is just awesome. Very catchy, a deep melodic beat, awesome instrumental, great singing in the hook from Matt Mahaffet and awesome flow from Lupe Fiasco himself. The song is about a wide range of different topics ranging from not believing everything you are taught in class and also a hit out at all the fake stars, saying you can be a star by being an idiot and if your dumb then hey you could easily get to number 1. I guess it's a shout out to many of these artists like Kesha and Nicki Minaj that just release filth that tops the charts (no offence to anyone that is a fan of these artists, as always it is just my opinion).
Overall this is a strong album from Lupe and I can see how there are elements of it he didn't make himself but most tracks are on here have a longevity factor that you just don't get with other artists. It is an album I enjoyed and actually there are a lot more tracks I enjoyed than his sequel to Food and Liquor which came out recently and actually he stated himself is more his own music, so maybe the changes his label made him to make where a good thing. Overall I will give this 3.5, but as we can't do half stars I will round it up to 4 stars.
Before I start, I'd just like to say that Lupe Fiasco is someone I got into a bit late. His first 2 albums are classics so I was hoping he could go 3 for 3. This album was in limbo for so long it didn't look like it was going to come out. So was it worth the wait?
This song kinda threw me off when I first heard it. I had always expected the Lasers Manifesto to be the introduction to the album, followed by "Shining Down". Would have made a much better intro, IMO.
But anyways, "Letting Go" is a good track. Lupe does a great job rapping about all of the chaos that had been going on with his life, and I love the production. However, I think Lupe is doing a little too much singing, which is awkward since Sarah Green is already on the track. And no offense Lupe, but Sarah Green's got much better pipes than you. Also, that vocal effect Lupe uses really takes away from his rapping. Definitely wasn't a smart choice to use that.
7 / 10
Words I Never Said
I wasn't too thrilled about Lupe doing a song with Alex da Kid at first. But I actually somewhat enjoyed the production on this song, and Holly Brook did a great job on the vocals. Lyrically, though, it wasn't really Lupe's best. There were a few good lines here-and-here, but overall his lyrics were pretty simple, to the point where it's a little too preachy. I get that this is supposed to be Lupe's rebellion song, but he already did that with "American Terrorist", which is a MUCH better song. And I understand that Lupe purposely made the lyrics simpler in order to get his message to the mainstream, which is fine. But every time I hear this song, I just think about how much better it would have been if it was more like "American Terrorist". Regardless, it still makes a decent "voice" for the album.
6.5 / 10
Till I Get There
When I first heard Lupe play a snippet from this song at a concert, I really thought I was going to hate it. It sounded so corny, and I assumed that it was one of the songs Atlantic was forcing him to make. But as it turns out, it's actually one of the better songs off the album. Once again, Lupe does a good job talking about what his life was like for the last few years. And Needlez did a great job with production (love those piano loops).
I do think that this song would have been better with someone else on the hook, though. I personally think that Kid CuDi would have been perfect for this song. Even the "Ooh ooooh"'s that play right before the chorus sound just like him (suspiciously). Come to think of it, we know that Lu & CuDi are good friends, and have been in the studio together. Makes me wonder if there's a Kid CuDi version of this track somewhere in the Atlantic vaults...
Anyways, pretty good song.
7.5 / 10
I Don't Wanna Care Right Now
Ok, so I know that Lupe said he really wanted to make a club-record. And that's fine, there's nothing wrong with trying out different types of music. But if this song proves anything, it's that Lupe should never, ever make a club-record again.
First of all, the beat just seems empty. I kinda like what's there, but it just seems to be lacking something. It actually sounds better Live, with the extra drums & guitar. But idk, just doesn't seem like it could keep a party going.
Second, the sound effects are just obnoxious. That's a fact; I have no idea what the hell he was thinking when adding all of those into the final mix.
And finally, just because it's a club record, doesn't mean Lupe should have avoided spitting fire at all costs. The first verse wasn't that bad, but the second & third ones....Jesus Christ, if I ever hear Lupe say "my flow tight; skinny jeans, skinny jeans" again, I'm going to kill someone. Not to mention all of those "boooiiiiiiiyyyyyy"'s got annoying almost instantly.
I've seen a ton of lyrical-geniuses make fun club-records. But Lupe should stay far, FAR away from them.
3.5 / 10
Out of My Head
I'll admit it, this song is kinda catchy. But that's pretty much it...you could have given the hook & beat to anyone, and it still would be a catchy song. Lupe really doesn't have any memorable lines, and people who hear this one the radio won't give a shit about who's rapping. This is just one of those songs made to make money. And Lupe, I'm really happy that you're getting more mainstream recognition, I really am.....but "Sunshine" and "Paris, Tokyo" were two of the best rap songs about women OF ALL TIME.
5 / 10
The Show Goes On
As a radio-hit, this isn't that bad of a song. Lupe's got some decent lines in there, and the production is pretty catchy. It's a little generic/corny at times, but whatever. I've heard a lot of people bitch about how this song rips-off "Float On" by Modest Mouse (and I'm a huge fan of that song, too). But really, it's such a minor sample. It's not like they just copy-and-pasted the chorus or guitar riff (also known as "the Puff Daddy Method").
The thing is, though, Lupe has made much better radio singles than this in the past. "Superstar" and "Daydreamin" eat this song alive. And while I am glad to hear Lupe get more attention through this song, I'll just always know that he has the potential to make much better hits than this, without being spoon-fed by Atlantic.
6 / 10
Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways)
Here it is, the song from Lasers that I was most-hyped to hear. I had been looking forward to this song since the snippet was leaked back in 2009.
Lyrically, this is a great song. It's definitely one of the most emotional tracks Lu has ever made. But personally, I would have added a third verse. It would have been much better to hear him rap about after he put down the gun, and him learning that "love always shines every time, just remember to smile". After all, the song is called "Beautiful Lasers".
I love the production of the song. A lot of people prefer the acoustic, but I think this version is just as awesome. I always liked the idea of the Lasers tracks having an electronic-feel. And when I heard Pooh Bear sing the hook during a concert, I got even more hyped.
8.5 / 10
Great song, one of my favorite tracks on the album. Great performance by Lupe, I love the production, and Pooh Bear did a much better job with this track than with the previous one. There should have been more tracks like this on Lasers. The vocal-break by Pooh Bear starts off a little weird, and maybe the lyrics in the chorus could have been better. But those are minor complaints.
8.5 / 10
State Run Radio
This was my second most-hyped track for Lasers. Those old Live performances of this song got me so excited for this album. The lyrics definitely fit the Lasers concept, and Lupe's energy when performing it could get anyone hyped. Too bad the CDQ doesn't live up to the hype.
The lyrics are still good, that hasn't changed (minus that "shampoo on an airplane" line). Lupe is pretty much just saying "fuck the mainstream radio", which I love. I've heard a lot of people say that they hate the chorus to this song, but I don't think it's that bad. They say that it sounds really Pop-ish, and gets really annoying...but I'm pretty sure that's the whole idea.
My problem with this song is that Lupe just sounds so bored on it. I wasn't expecting him to be screaming his ass off like he does during concerts, but a little bit of energy would have been nice. His complete lack of energy really took away from the song, IMO. Also, the instrumentals could have been amped-up a little bit (maybe with louder drums of something).
6.5 / 10
Break the Chain
This song is definitely a better club record than "I Don't Wanna Care Right Now". Lupe and Sway had decent verses, and Eric Turner did a nice job with the hook.
But unfortunately, there was something wrong with the production. The track started off great, and seemed to have a nice build-up...but then nothing happened. I was waiting for the the beat & hook to be completely "unleashed", but instead it was almost as if it was stuck in a weird build-up phase. Plus, I preferred "Stereo Sun" to this song.
6.5 / 10
All Black Everything
I always see people praising this song, and saying that it's the best song on the album. Even Lupe said that it was the best song he's ever made. But I just don't see it. Sure, it has nice production, and it's an interesting subject to rap about. But I just think this song has a serious lack of replay-value. I really can't imagine anyone being able to sit down & listen to this song on repeat. In my opinion, it just seems like one of those songs that you should listen to once or twice, enjoy the lyrics and message behind the song, and not listen to it again for awhile. Or maybe I just can't appreciate it because I'm a honkey. idk.
6.5 / 10
Never Forget You
This is the second song off the album that Atlantic forced upon Lupe. But actually, I think giving him this song was a smart move. I've always wanted to hear Lupe and John Legend on a track together, and the theme of the song definitely suited Lu (seeing as his father passed away). Lupe delivered some good verses (I loved the third verse, on a personal level), the production was nice, and no complaints about the hook.
But once again, Lupe's complete lack of emotion really took away from the song. He just seems so bored on this track; it's almost as if he couldn't wait to get it over with (which was actually most likely the case). And that's a shame, because it really could have been an emotional track.
7 / 10
So was this album worth the 3-year wait? Absolutely not. Sure, there were some good tracks. But there were just as many mediocre tracks to go along with them. But my real problem with this album was it's presentation...
When Lupe first revealed the concept for Lasers, I thought it was a really interesting idea. Take word "Losers", add an anarchy symbol to make it "Lasers", and shine those lasers on negative situations, because "love always shines every time, remember to smile".
But as creative as this concept was, the final version of the album barely took advantage of it. And that's really a wasted opportunity, because of how the Lasers concept was used in order to the album released (ironically). I truly believe that Lupe's original version of this album would have made much better use of the concept. But unfortunately, we'll probably never hear all of those wasted tracks (unless God smiles on us & decides to leak them himself). But until then, I guess we'll just have to move on and start waiting for Food & Liquor II.