January 31, 2008

The Cool

Print More

Sense some similarities between Lupe Fiasco and fellow mainstream hip-hopper Kanye West? Don’t be surprised. Both rappers hail from Chi-town, and both place production on a pedestal, utilizing mesmerizing sonic backdrops and elevating their game to ambitious heights. What’s the difference then between the two? Well, quite simply, Lupe’s better.
The promise he hinted at on his solid-but-flawed debut LP, Food and Liquor, is realized in this larger-than-life follow-up, The Cool. The album departs somewhat from the largely string-based compositions of Food and Liquor, showing off influences as diverse as Motown, jazz, rock and electronica (he even collaborates with British trip-hop outfit Unkle). Whether he’s lambasting record executives (“Dumb It Down”), spinning stories about child soldiers in Africa (“Little Weapon”), or even just showing off his lyrical skill with more traditional party-pleasers (“Go Baby”), one thing is clear: Lupe Fiasco has arrived, and he’s the coolest cat in town.