[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
BY MICHAEL DONOVAN In this post-American Idiot world we live in, it seems just about everyone wants to make a Big Statement concept album. More often than not, however, the much-ballyhooed “concept” is more or less indiscernible (I’m looking at you, Mars Volta). So when I heard that the latest from Lupe Fiasco would be continuing the story of The Cool begun on 2006’s Food and Liquor, I was a bit skeptical- the concept album is a very hard feat to pull off, especially on a sophomore record.
As it turns out, The Cool is rather difficult to follow as a linear story. In fact, one might not even know the tracks were telling a tale unless properly debriefed. This hardly mars the record, though — in terms of a kickass hip-hop odyssey, Lupe’s still got game. All of what made Food and Liquor so much fun returns on The Cool. Tracks like “Gold Watch” recall the feel of “Kick, Push”- chill beats with borderline goofy lyrics (I like Street Fighter 2 I just really hate zanga/ If Only Ken and Ryu I find it hard to beat Blanka). On “Go Go Gadget Flow,” Fiasco shows that he’s no sophomore slump chump: “Hey hey don’t hate on me/ My tank on full your tank on e/ Look good on you look good on me/ Cause I’m a go and never gon s-t-o-p.” You can’t help but believe the man.
And beyond his own LPs, Lupe remains a selling point for other people’s albums: After appearing on Kanye’s 2005 effort Late Registration and netting the likes of Gemini, Pharrell, Jay-Z, and Jill Scott on his debut, Fiasco re-teams with Snoop Dogg on The Cool‘s “Hi-Definition.” Lupe has already garnered comparisons to Twista for his machine gun flow (throw on the aforementioned “Go Go Gadget Flow” for an exercise in insanity), and continues to receive the seal of approval from the industry’s biggest and brightest. His performance tonight at the Fillmore is WAY sold out. Out of the gate, this dude was six feet high and rising and he just keeps getting higher.
RELATED: Bill Cosby – a staunch critic of some rap music – is set to release a Hip-Hop album called State of Emergency, which will be a sanitized, issue-oriented CD. Sources told AllHipHop.com that the actor, comedian and philanthropist will address issues like proper parenting, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, Black-on-Black crime and the dropout rate in America’s high schools. Cosby’s album will not contain any profane language, nor will it offer any denigrating comments towards women. State of Emergency would be the 35th album for the legendary comedian, actor, who released his first album Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow in 1963.