Fresh Off The Press | Lasers

When an artist says they hate their own album due to having little to no control over the final product, then to me, it really isn't "their" work. Such is the case with Lupe Fiasco's third full length album Lasers.

Lupe's debut Food and Liquor and his sophomore album The Cool cemented his status as one of my favorite hip-hop artists of all time. I was impressed by his thought-provoking lyrics and perfect delivery over top-notch production. He had managed to achieve mainstream success without watering down his material and catering to commercial archetypes; a rare feat accomplished in a business where album sales are typically determined by radio dominance. Fast-forward 3 years: Lupe has a dispute with Atlantic and the label decides to withhold the release of his album. Only when fans petitioned for it's release and Lupe agreed to completely change the album's sound, did Atlantic begrudgingly give Lasers a release date.

Hardly a sliver of Lupe Fiasco's past lyrical prowess finds itself on Lasers; a clear indication that Atlantic forced the direction of the album towards more mainstream avenues. In fact,
according to Lupe himself, he was told to not rap "too deeply" on the album. Hyped fans who petitioned for the album's release will be disappointed to find that most of the album consists of Lupe rapping unenthusiastically over generic beats featuring horrendous auto-tune hooks (ex. Words I Never Said, Out Of My Head and every song featuring MDMA). These tracks sound nothing like that of the quality music we've come to expect from his past work. Lupe's producer in crime Soundtrakk is no where to be found on Lasers, and is replaced by newcomer King David. His beats aren't actually that bad, but they're mostly ruined by god-awful choruses (no doubt chosen by Atlantic). The only song I found to be up to Lupe's standard was "All Black Everything"; a socially conscious track where the "dream-like" production matched perfectly with the alternate reality Lupe created. Despite being forced to perform on the songs "The Show Goes On" and "Never Forget You" featuring John Legend, these are two of the album's better tracks, which goes to show you how good the rest of the album could possibly be.

Having followed the events that transpired around Lasers, I feel that I can't blame Lupe too much for the final product of the album. Being supressed creatively through contracts and legal means meant that he was simply a puppet controlled by Atlantic. As for now, my hopes are high for Lupe's future as it seems as though he has made peace with Atlantic and is currently half-way finished Food and Liquor II. Hopefully Atlantic executives can keep their hands off this one; I don't think Lupe's career can stand another Lasers situation.


What's Making My Ipod:

Letting Go ft. Sarah Green

Till I Get There

The Show Goes On

All Black Everything

Never Forget You ft. John Legend