Here goes our 2nd track-by-track review, this time courtesy of @KekaRHO
As a card-carrying, degree-holding journalist, I pride myself on being impartial regardless of the subject at hand. As a long-time supporter of Lupe Fiasco, I pride myself on keeping my opinion of his music to myself. But when the Big Boss Man (word to Raymond Taylor Jr.), Sean the Robot asks you for something, you deliver. So without further ado… I present to you my track by track FL2 review…
I’m definitely NOT going to critique a poem. But it’s good to have her back. We missed you on Lasers, Ayesha…
From the moment Lu utters the first line, he sets the lyrical tone for this entire album. One of the things I loved about his first album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor, was how the beat to Real dropped and it was hard and heavy hitting. He took a more subtle approach with Strange Fruition. The lyrics are what are hard and heavy hitting while the beat is more mellow but with just the right amount of thump to get your head nodding.
As far as the varied messages in the songs on this album go, this one, by far, is my favorite. I can’t speak for any other group, but fiscal fuckery is an epidemic in the black community and the images that we are being bombarded with in music are what’s making this problem so rampant. I know Lu and Phonte have had their issues in the past but I have to say, this song reminds me so much of Phonte’s verse on Sirens from the Little Brother Get Back album. The music and images being presented to the youth of today are no more than not-so-cleverly disguised psychological warfare. Love this song. LOVE.
Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)
Let me start by saying I think that they did a fantastic job of recreating this beat. I love the modern twist on it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Lu keeps the momentum going and basically continues the message from ITAL (Roses). This song is definitely a favorite of mine from this album.
Sick title. And I love how the chorus is uplifting without being preachy. We know we’re not niggas although some of us continue to use the word. I appreciate not having judgment passed because of it. After all, Lupe says it liberally throughout the album.
I like the beat. I appreciate the message. Many Lupe Fiasco fans might see this as preaching to the choir but I still think it’s something that needs to be said. The backlash from it is mind bottling to me (you know when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped like in a bottle.). How one takes offense to being referred to as a lady is beyond me. Where was the backlash when Tip Drill came out? Why weren’t we up in arms when the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg (and currently known as Snoop Lion) walked the red carpet with two ladies women bitches on leashes? Where was this debate for the song Domestic Violence? How about the countless songs that declare Bitches Aint Shit?
As a woman, I commend Lupe for speaking on the many facets of misogyny, misguidance and sheer ignorance that currently plague our communities, are corrupting the minds of young men and women and are threatening to destroy any hope of the black family unit. It isn’t his best lyrical display but it gets the point across and it’s one of the more important topics on the album.
I see… Diamond flooded demons. Lamborghini angels. Halos down with the doors flapping when they came through. AHHHHH!!! This song makes my heart smile!!! This is the Lupe that compelled me to go out and buy his first album. The beat and lyrics intertwine so perfectly. This song was executed flawlessly.
Put Em Up
Anyone who has some ill-conceived notion that Lupe has fallen off or has somehow lost his penchant for lyrical slaughter needs to give this song a listen. He proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the hip hop Leon. Annihilating beats while simultaneously saving lives. No women. No kids.
See, this is why I don’t like speaking on Lu’s music. I hate putting anything even remotely negative into the universe when it comes to Lu… I can’t really get jiggy with this song. I appreciate the message and even agree whole-heartedly with his declaration that he is a heart donor. He definitely is. But the beat is a little slow for my liking and the singing on the hook I could do without.
How Dare You
Every time I hear this song, it makes me think of LA. It definitely has a smooth Southern California type beat. I really prefer not to hear Lu rap about his love interests. It always seems awkward and kinda makes me uncomfortable. Please be the Ferrari to my car key? Uhmmm… I don’t like the imagery that line creates in my head. I’m not a huge fan of Bilal but I think his unique voice matches the tone and feel of the song perfectly. I don’t hate the song. But I don’t love it either.
I’m not really into singing all like that. I am just a hardcore hip hop head so anything even remotely reminiscent of R&B or any kind of music genre where singing is involved puts me off. But this Guy Sebastian dude has a beautiful voice so it’s not so bad. Again, I don’t like to hear about Lu and his women (woman?). I don’t want to be involved in all that. But he is an artist and I appreciate his utter honesty on this song.
Hooray for the drums at the beginning (Bam, is that you?). Just like Lu declares at the beginning, I feel good about this song; an honest and revealing song without being heavily laden with a “woe is me” tone. The lyrics are superb. The chorus is spectacular and well-executed. This is definitely a favorite of mine.
Form Follows Function
I don’t really have a strong opinion on this song. I definitely like it. It’s kind of like a kinder, gentler SLR. That’s all I really have to say about it.
Having lost my cousin in an eerily similar way to how Esco was lost, I can empathize with and understand the hurt behind this song. I think Lu did a great job of channeling his hurt and anger into a befitting homage to his fallen friend… Hoping God forgives us for our tendencies/ Wipes away our cool young histories… He said so much with that line. So much…
This song is genius. Pure genius. Lupe’s history of the United states.
If Unforgivable Youth pulls you down into the muck and mire of your feelings about this country we call home, then Hood Now is the best suited sonic vessel to carry you safely back. It makes me so happy every time I hear it. This song is Lu’s fun, light-hearted way of embracing what is often portrayed as bad, negative or something to be ashamed of. I love it. And the beat is fantastic. It’s my favorite beat on the entire album. He took that hurt, and made it in a song. What a great way to close out the album.
Things We Must Do For Others
How clever?! Love it.
Reviews really are nothing more than one person’s opinion. What the album does for me may be completely different than what it does for someone else. Music is art and art is subjective. So take from this review and from Lu’s album what you will. It is my personal opinion that beauty is relative. And Food and Liquor II: The great American Rap Album Pt. is beautiful to me. Well done, Lu.