Lupe Fiasco- Lasers: Album Review

March 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

To say that Lupe Fiasco’s third studio album, Lasers (released on March 8th 2011), was a long-awaited record (two years to be exact) would be an understatement. After pressures & arguments from his label (Atlantic Records), postponing production dates, and intense fan petitions, I have to say that we were ALL waiting for this album to drop. But when it did, it didn’t explode with that unique fervency that we attribute to Fiasco. Lasers is a VERY commercial album, the type of hesitant commercialism that would put Lupe in the same category as Eminem, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not what we would expect from the socially conscious Chicago rapper.

The underlying current of Lasers is the struggle of creating and releasing this album, which provides a surreal touch to the record that both fans and other artists in the industry can relate to. “Letting Go”, the first song off the record, is one of the greatest opening tracks I’ve ever heard. With its booming bass, exposed lyrics, and Lupe’s voice drifting in & out of your ears, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Sounding like Lupe is on the verge of suicide, the track is guilt-ridden, eerie, self-loathing, haunting, and brilliant.

“Till I Get There” is a Mea Culpa to the fans. With opening lyrics: “Album on hold, whole world on hold. The crowd is like ‘ho!’, operator’s like ‘hold’. Man, now ain’t that cold?” The song acts like Lupe’s diary, spilling his inner thoughts into the ears of his listener. But the album isn’t all melancholic; songs like “Out of My Head” (featuring R&B singer Trey Songz) is a feel-good jam that would fit on Lupe’s first album, Food & Liquor.

If you want to put Lasers in a musical category, it would obviously be pop-rap; the type of sound that we critically relate to Eminem & Lil Wayne. But don’t put the blame on the 29 year-old rapper; Atlantic Records wanted him to sell, and sell well, telling Lupe Fiasco to dumb down his usually conscious lyrics in order to be easily digestible for listeners. From beginning to end, Lasers is a constant battle of commercialism vs. personal identity that is tangible through the somber tones of the songs. Lupe Fiasco gave his label what they wanted; you can’t get past the commercial aesthetic. Even Lupe Fiasco himself commented on it, stating “But when I think about what it took to actually get the record together and everything that I went through on this record — which is something I can’t separate — I hate this album…I don’t like the process behind Lasers. The music is dope but I just don’t like the process (Complex Magazine Feb. 2011 Interview).”

Lasers is a confusingly great record that both Lupe Fiasco and his fans have fought for. Even with the album’s intent for generic marketability, the album is decent. Strip away the typical arena-rap rhythms that are incredibly radio-friendly, Lupe Fiasco has a solid record that bares his soul through genuine & heartfelt lyricism. If Atlantic Records gave Lupe Fiasco the freedom he deserved, Lasers would have the opportunity to be a flawless record.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Songs on Repeat

“Letting Go”

“Words I Never Said”

“Till I Get There”

“Beautiful Lasers”

“Out Of My Head”

Songs to Skip

“Never Forget You”

Photo Courtesy of: Okay Player

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