I finally got Lasers

I’m actually a huge Lupe Fiasco fan. Just been way too busy all these months, and the mixed reception and lackluster singles didn’t make me hurry. But, I’ve been holding out and purposely avoiding listening to the individual songs until now.

It’s actually a really decent album! Despite what controversy Lupe had against his own album, it’s not a bad effort in switching up content and style.

Content-wise, I think this might be the most serious attempt I’ve seen at putting social commentary in a rap album. Though I’m not in accord with most of Lupe’s political views, it’s a commendable decision to expand into these broader topics. Lasers actually touches on a lot of issues, sometimes a bit incongruously. Compared to previous albums, there’s definitely a step up in the intensity of his message, though I miss some of the more abstract songs he’d done in the past.

That leads us into style. Again, there is a big shift with Lasers, which you’ll notice right away with the album art. Sonically, I think what is amazing is thatLasers is not only different from Lupe’s previous albums, but completely distinct to other mainstream sounds. This is accomplished with a very industrial and lo-fi backing sound. I’m not saying I love it, and I do think the lo-fi sound is a bit too jumbled on here, but it’s certainly something fresh to listen at. Producer credit is listed as “Free Chilly” and Lupe himself. I don’t know who this “Free Chilly” is, but props to him nonetheless.

The other thing is that Lasers has a lot of featured artists. Not guest rappers, but singers who add to the chorus (he even got John Legend). I almost think it’s too much. It stands as a rather conspicuous contrast to the lo-fi production. Whereas the production itself would’ve put the album on the same progressive level as Odd Future or Watch The Throne, the vocal choruses brings the album back to mainstream. Maybe that’s what Lupe was griping about, but I don’t know.

The final comment I want to make echoes what I said about the shift in content: I really miss the dark, abstract feel of earlier Lupe tracks! The heavy, industrial sound could’ve made for some beautiful NIN-style tracks. Instead, Lupe is intense but flat on all of the tracks.

And that’s all I have to say about Lasers! It’s bold, it’s not a disappointment, but it could’ve been amazing.

Live every week with GIM (goal-in-mind)