Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Light  (1st & 15th/Thirty Tiggers’ Records)

Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Light (1st & 15th/Thirty Tiggers' Records)



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UK release date 10.02.2017

Now I wanna start this by saying that I am indeed a fan of LF and have been since I first clapped ears on him way back. When an MC cites his influences as Jay-Z, Common and Nas then the stakes is high from the giddy up - this guy dug his heels in and delivered us many worthy tracks over the last 8 years or so, several of which are in various playlists that I drop to this day when I DJ.

So as you can imagine when I was asked to review the latest long player from Lupe, I was looking forward to a slice of Hip Hop endeavour that would be full of cleverly crafted constructs - spat over some equally well selected rare samples - chopped up and mixed with instrumentation and super phat beats, plus deftly produced warm and rounded din.

What I actually listened to, with the exception of 2 tracks, was the complete opposite. So after the initial shock of the first listen, I listened again. Then I saved the LP to an App so I could pop it on my iPhone and I listened in my car back and forth to work for a week and then I left it for a few days and came back to it... Each time, the same 3 tracks stood out and the rest were quite difficult for me to digest.

Lupe has changed up his style, flow, cadence or whatever you care to call it and it’s like listening to a completely different artist, from the Lupe we’re familiar with – apart from the 3 stand out tracks. Now I totally appreciate there’s an argument for keeping up with what’s 'going on' but dropping the N-bomb over and over again and saying the same line several times...a good track does not make!!

It may well put you in the game if you want to compete with a certain element of MC’s who call themselves Rappers and want to pass their music off as Hip Hop - that may well indeed be popular amongst the plastic generation of music listeners (usually found within sub 18yr olds) but surely it’s a step backwards. Especially if you 'already' have the skills to separate yourself in the first place. I’m wondering why the Fiasco is Lupe, trying to catch some action of a market that he surely don’t really need? He’s not a breakthrough act anymore, he has established himself as a rhymester, but now he’s coming like a new jack and dropping it like he’s the new boy on the block, trying to impress with a sub-genre, that won’t be relevant much longer.

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. This was an opportunity to stomp back on the scene and make an impression, to make a statement and to make a mark by saying “YO! This is Lupe Fiasco!” But sadly for this reviewer, the project feels like an ill-advised science project that no doubt took a lot of work and thought but was aimed at the wrong market. I do not feel that any self-respecting Hip Hop head will be checking this and loving it. This project will be well received in the Trap/Drill/Mumble Rap scene but it will be forgotten very quickly - even there, as every few months, there’s a new flava artist bubbling.

I’ll be surprised if this LP has any impact on the UK market, which saddens me because Fiasco is better than this and has more skill and dopeness than this...perhaps he should have brought this project out as a pseudonym?

The tracks that I would look out for on this are "Pick Up The Phone", "Wild Child" and "More Than My Heart", all of which I feel have crossover appeal and are probably the straightest tracks on the whole LP.

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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