82 of 97 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Most of Lupe Fiasco's fans know that the production of this CD was like going through hell. All of the drama with Lupe & Atlantic Records on how they wanted the CD to be done; Lupe wanted to stick to what he did best, while Atlantic made it more "radio friendly" so to speak. With all that aside, this is one of the best Hip Hop/Rap Albums to come out in the past few years. While this may of not pleased all Lupe fan's, Lupe still managed to make this own and I enjoyed almost every song on "Lasers". Heres my song by song rundown/review:
1.) Letting Go ft. Sarah Green
This album immediatly starts of with the goods. "Letting Go" is a very powerful song and Lupe really tells a story on the struggles of Laser's production. You really get the idea of how frustrated he was within the song's lyrics. The chorus grabs your attention and then Lupe just tears it up. Sarah Green dosen't have a huge part, but her part was good for what it is worth.
2.) Words I Never Said ft. Skylar Grey
Another powerful song here. This is one of two current "hits" on lasers, with Skylar Grey contributing in the chorus, which is just as good as her part in "I Need A Doctor" by Eminem & Dre. One thing that I respect about this song is that Lupe actually rapped about politics and world problems, instead of just talking about something completely pointless. If this would of had Grey's hook and some pointless verse's like we mostly hear on the radio today, this would probably be a #1 hit. I'm glad Lupe didn't do that because this one deserves to be a huge hit in it's own right. One of my favorties.
3.) Till I Get There
This sounds a lot like a Kid Cudi song to me, infact, a little to much. I enjoyed the flow & beat of the song, but I don't think it was Lupe's best work. Per say, if Cudi was actually in this one, it would of made a lot more since to me because it sounds so similar to him, needless to mention that would be a great track. Still, I wouldn't recommend skipping this one, because you might like it more than me; I just wasn't in to it that much.
4.) I Don't Wanna Care Right Now ft. MDMA
This was one of the more controversial song's on this album, because this is where Atlantic took control of the track to make it more "radio friendly", like I mentioned earlier. A lot of people have complained about this being to much of a club song, but you have to ignore the auto-tune and the type of beat and pay attention to the lyrical content. While this is a "club song", Lupe still managed to put some good stuff in here and still made it his own as much as he could. Not to many complaints for me here, but I'm probably a little more positive than others on this one.
5.) Out Of My Head ft. Trey Songz
Now I didn't mind I don't wanna care, but this is one song I just can't stand. Lupe's part isn't bad, but in Songz's chorus, it is really just the same old stuff from him, the stuff we hear 5 or more times a day on the radio. Once again, credit to Lupe, but this was one song I can't and won't listen to again.
6.) The Show Goes On
Arguably the most popular song on "Lasers". This one has recieved quite a bit of publicity, for being used for highlight reels on SportsCenter & NBA All-Star Weekend. Lupe used the beat for "Modest Mouse" and he turned it around and made it his own (like most of the song's on here). The message was mainly directed toward's the kids in the ghetto and the song was not only fun to listen to, but inspiring at the same time. This is definitely my favorite track a long with the next one.
7.) Beautiful Lasers ft. MDMA
Yes, this is indeed my favorite track along with "Show Goes On". In all honesty, I think this is the most underrated song on this album. Despite the chorus being auto-tuned (which also drawed complaints), I really enjoyed it because it captured me in for what was to come next. This is also a very deep song, with Lupe bringing his talents to full circle. This had a nice mix of that rap/rock vibe that was actually worth listening to and I enjoyed all four minutes of it.
8.) Coming Up ft. MDMA
"Don't Wanna Care" was decent and "Beautiful Lasers" was very good, but at this point I was a just a little tired of MDMA. This really wasn't all that great.
9.) State Run Radio ft. Matt Mahaffey
Once again, just another forgettable song here. Lupe's verses were just decent and not his best and this one kind of just annoyed me.
10.) Break The Chain ft. Eric Turner & Sway
This was an improved track from the last two. This one also played on ESPN SportsCenter along with "The Show Goes On". The chorus is very catchy and the producing of this song was brilliant. The beat really hooked me and Lupe's verses were awesome as always. This basically talked about working your way up and getting that chance, so once again, something that hit an inspirational note. Really enjoyed this one here.
11.) All Black Everything
I know I've talking a lot about inspirational lyrics, but this just takes the cake. This had so many good moments and a variety of memorable content such as "racism has no context" and this is just Lupe's point of view of a certain situation (just as Words I Never Said). This is most people's favorite track, while it isn't my favorite, it is something that I could just kick back and listen to all day long. Yes, it is that good and it is that meaningful. True Lupe here.
12.) Never Forget You ft. John Legend
This was far from the best track on Lasers, but I thought it was a good finish to the album. John Legend has one of the best voices and Lupe had great chemistry with him in this song. Length wise, the song ended a little to quick for me; there was nothing memorable, but nothing bad here either.
Download These: Letting Go, Words I Never Said, The Show Goes On, Beautiful Lasers, All Black Everything
All in all, I give a big round of applause for Lupe on this one. After all the Atlantic Record release drama, this one still turned out good. Some of the hardcore Lupe fans may not have been pleased, but in my opinion, I think this is something we can all enjoy. This is the first CD I've bought in three years, so it definitely caught my attention.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Lupe Fiasco always got more flak than he deserves. Underground hip-hop fans view Lupe as ersatz Mos Def and Talib Kweli, rather than appreciating his unique gifts. Meanwhile, mainstream listeners never got over the "skateboard rapper" stigma that followed Lupe after "Kick, Push" hit the airwaves, and ignored him over the gaudy mindlessness of "Gucci Mane" and "Wakka Flocka Flame". But one only needs to hear tracks like "Hurt Me Soul", "American Terrorist" or "Little Weapon" to witness Lupe's thematic flexibility and multi-layered lyricism that puts many modern rappers to shame (especially the overplayed Drake and Nicki Minaj). Lupe's 'Food & Liquor' continued where Kanye West's "The College Dropout" left off, and is arguably one the best rap albums of the last decade.
For `Lasers', Lupe confronts yet another critic deriding him for being too deep: his label, Atlantic Records. Unfortunately, they have more influence than the disgruntled rap fan expecting club hits. Despite the combined 7 Grammy nominations 'Food & Liquor' (2006) and 'The Cool' (2008) received, the lack of #1 singles disappointed Atlantic, and they urged Lupe to go for mass appeal. Translation: don't be very thought provoking, or "too lyrical", as Soulja Boi insultingly stated about Lupe on Vibe magazine. Well congratulations! You guys got your insipid wish.
Listening through 'Lasers', it's easy to tell where Lupe's persona strains to break through Atlantic's corporate compromise. Singles "Till I Get There" and "Break the Chain" has Lupe complacently uttering half-hearted announcements about his drive to reach a better future. The production replaces the immersive tunes that supplemented Lupe's lyrics before, and instead goes for generic sounds and choruses that hardly differ from the usual radio fare. A few songs go for dance song tempo (again, "Break the Chain"), or for the sports anthem ("The Show Goes On"; big surprise it's now played on ESPN/NCAA promos). As aspirations for pop recognition rises, Lupe's identity slips.
Take "Words I Never Said", featuring Skylar Green. It's going for the appeal of the Eminem/Rihanna duet, "Love the Way You Lie" - Skylar even sounds like a Rihanna expy - but going that route drowns out Lupe's thoughtful lyrics to the catchier, more banal chorus given by the singer. It's a big reason I loathed "Love the Way You Lie" (a weak track in Eminem's otherwise solid 'Recovery'). Adding to insult is Lupe's voice being auto-tuned through the ordeal (thanks, T-Pain).
And then some tracks appear with conflicting guest stars. Trey Songz's lady chasing lyrics clash against Lupe's more chaste opinion towards his female listeners. Meanwhile, when John Legend comes into the album closer "Never Forget You", the result is...peculiar. Before this, never would have I compared Legend to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. No offense to either artist - I've enjoyed works from both - but like much of 'Lasers', the inclusion feels awkward.
And yet, in spite of Atlantic's meddling, 'Lasers' isn't as terrible as it should be. Listeners can still hear Lupe's sociopolitical commentary sprinkled throughout the album. On "Words I Never Said", Lupe attacks mainstream news stations for being flat-out racist (Fox News) or too focused on gossip fodder (CNN), while giving Obama and politicians a big thumbs down. With "The Show Goes On" and parts of "Beautiful Lasers", Lupe raises the spirits of troubled youth who want to escape inner city confinement, while ridiculing everyone who wants to suppress them into a predictable box. "State Run Radio" takes a deserved shot at commercial radio, ringtone rappers, and the corporate machine that fuels the existence of both. In "All Black Everything," Lupe envisions a black America that avoided the chronic suffering that trailed them after being freed, post-Civil War. Too bad that's the sole example of Lupe really going abstract.
Because of 'Lasers' being reduced to a dozen tracks, and because much of Lupe's signature lyrical depth was omitted, it feels incomplete compared to 'Food & Liquor' and 'The Cool'. While I liked 'Lasers' enough the first few playthroughs, it doesn't have the longevity of its predecessors. It's difficult not to be conspiratorial minded about `Lasers', knowing that it wouldn't have even been released, had it not been for rabid fans protesting outside Atlantic's building last year. Lupe clearly had more to say, and if he had the freedom to do LupE.N.D., it would've been marvelous. Legendary, even. Instead, the required five albums on his contract reduced his master plan into churning out the marginalized 'Lasers'.
Lupe himself doesn't completely loathe 'Lasers', though it's easy to see that personal frustration took a toll on him. With all the references of getting knocked down and tempting suicide on "Beautiful Lasers", you can't blame him for feeling exhausted. However, Lupe assures fans that he's not giving up the fight, because kids trapped in the ghetto need to hear a voice that's telling them it's okay that you think differently, and that they deserve better than what they've been given from society. Those are statements worth applause. But for the night clubs bumping 'Lasers's' synthetic beats into the stereo, it's only filler between "Speakers Going Hammer", "Make it Rain" and "Black & Yellow".