Perception is reality and currently the perception of Lupe Fiasco and his new CD Lasers is not good. Who could honestly believe that the maker of classic albums such as The Cool and Food An Liquor could put out something less than mediocre especially considering the battle it was to get this album out. After three years of waiting Lasers, out March 8th, is here.
Most have heard about all the tug of war that went on with this album. Atlantic did not like singles Lupe was putting out and told him to change up his style, he refused and subsequently stalemate ensued in what escalated to a threat of thousands of people demonstrating unless Lasers was released. Here at last though, will his core fans really appreciate it? When you hear a track like “All Black Everything” you just wonder what this album could have been if Lupe had full creative control. A lot of people will really like this CD, but the fear seems to be that they will all be twelve year old white girls.
Drowning in guest appearances to the point that only a few songs exist with which Lupe is able to take the reigns, the absolute saddest thing is that of the few, two of those songs are titanic failures. “Till I Get There” is abysmal and “The Show Goes On” was so bad I wanted to just turn the whole thing off. The Modest Mouse sample from “Float On” was not appreciated. Heads will be put in hands when tracks like “State Run Radio” are played while fists may even rise to the heavens damning all with a listen of “Coming Up.” “Break The Chain” sounds like emo synth meets euro pop as opposed to witty 808-hop. Where is Lupe on his own album?
Lupe Fiasco is known for his hard hitting lyrics and crunchy beat selection. This project though is more a collage of “pop” music with some trite forgettable hooks. This is not the same production by any means. It would seem the beats are done by committee although none were a clear substitute for Prolyfic and/or Soundtrack. The direction this CD was trying to go is not easily understandable — it does not flow. Underneath a lot of that though is still a supremely gifted lyricist who can formulate a dope verse with the best of them.
This is not MGMT’s Congratulations — Fiasco did not take any risks, any chances. It is not so out there that it takes a couple of listens to decipher. How much is the label and how much is Lupe Fiasco himself is a question that pops into mind… The label politics that where taking place in between the three year hiatus signified to a lot of people that this album was going to be dangerous, hard hitting and unforgiving. Maybe this is the give back album considering it is the last he has to put out to fulfill his contractual obligations with Atlantic.
Lasers does not feel like a Lupe Fiasco album, it feels like a compilation album featuring Lupe. That being said critics mean naught often times in the eyes of the fan. The end product being such a heavily pop influenced album how will the core fans react? With all of the energy it took in order to drop this album though, I am surprised this is the end product. It is tough to believe this is the album he was fighting so vehemently for. While I am sure Lasers will not be the worst album this year it shall most surely not be the best.