In the weeks leading up to Tetsuo & Youth's release, I will be reviewing every project from the Fahrenheit 1/15 tapes to Food & Liquor 2. Hopefully this will provide good discussions on the projects, a look back for older listeners as well as help the newer listeners unaware of Lupe's older projects. Hit the jump and lets get started!
Fahrenheit 1/15 Part 1: The Truth Is Among Us
This Classic tape brought Lupe Fiasco a lot of underground attention with Hip Hop heads as well as interest from Artists inside the Industry such as Jay-Z.
1. Intro: No Rapping but intro sample plays as foreshadowing to Lupe Fiasco's inner being (see beginning of Pen and the Needlz) and sonically how it uses different Radio stations naming Lupe Fiasco and how attention at the time was growing for him was genius especially how it just ends and drops you right into Twilight Zone.
2. Twilight Zone: To this day still one Lupe Fiasco's most lyrically gifted songs. Uses very metaphor heavy verses to give many illustrations. First song off of his first Mixtape so you can almost think of it as his thesis as an Artist or a Mission Statement that he will continue to deliver concept heavy songs with extremely wordplay laiden verses.
3. The Pen and the Needlz: Song starts with a very Jazz influenced beat and Lupe Fiasco describing the horrors of his neighborhood saying "Grew up in Chicago....Westside, gang lifestyle the drug scene it's like one big universe of insanity". Song is heavy in wordplay and quotables. Replay this song a lot to this day. He bodied this. Favorite line "the gravity of the vocabular is a caliber equal to Excalibur swung with grace of Agessi in his amateurs"
4. Knockin At The Door: First thing that will jump out at you listening to this song is the use of Notorious BIG's flow but don't let that distract you from the true genius of this song. Lupe Fiasco very vividly details a home invasion/robbery. Song could be considered his "10 Crack Commandments" of Home Invasions.
5. Champ Is Here Freestyle: The first verse Lupe Fiasco describes having his ear to a safe with a stethoscope listening for the "Crack" then says later in the first verse "I was so high up the food chain that which I mentioned before I ain't know how to make"; line serves to show the life Lupe Fiasco had witnessed growing up on the Westside of Chicago. Favorite line "oh yes it's bullets in the toasters as many as the clips in the gun hold and they itching to come out the gun like the posters that unfold". Such an amazing song.
6. Failure: Classic....Classic. Lyrically the deepest Hip Hop song I've ever heard. Lupe Fiasco uses otherworldly Wordplay to tell a story of drug-dealing. I think this visual will bring it to life more than any description can:
Favorite line: "I stack my paper and throw off my scents/sense/cents. This is top flow/floor better look out below. Pennies from Heaven is the same as a semi from the second and I reign/reign supreme. Turn your umbrellas upside down. Did you even catch the change in theme?
7. Boss Playa ft Gemini and G Ball: Great underrated Gemini verse. Great opening verse from Lupe Fiasco. Great closing verse by G Ball detailing vividly the events that were and are still taking place everyday sadly.
8. Muhammed Walks : First song that Lupe Fiasco details his Muslim beliefs. Song goes over Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" instrumental. Lupe Fiasco lays three powerful verses about Islam.
9. WGCI Freestyle : Very short freestyle from young Lupe Fiasco on WGCI radio station in Chicago. Favorite line: "Don't intervene punks, y'all far from the hood like limousine trunks"
10. Hater Hop : Response to Terry Kennedy's diss of Lupe Fiasco based how he felt about "Kick, Push" and him not fully understanding the message of the song (Hopsin is not original)
11. The Run Down : Lupe Fiasco over Dr. Dre's Classic "Still D.R.E" instrumental. Filled with quotables. One of my favorite songs of this project....Absolute FIRE
12. Ooh : Lupe revisits Notorious BIG's flow for this fantastic song about the lavish life provided to hustlers. Classic verses. R.I.P Stack Bundles
13. Slow Down : over the Classic "Diamond in the Back" instrumental, Lupe Fiasco delivers silky smooth verses about the fancy life of a street hustler.
14. Coming From Where I Come From: Sample starts off as a self-aware Lupe Fiasco contimplating future in music. Sample states "You got this fantasy in your head about getting out of the life and setting world on it's ear, what the f*** are you going to do but hustle, now I'm not putting you I'm just trying to make it real". Then Lupe Fiasco's delivers verses very aware of the violence he had witnessed growing up. Lupe Fiasco describes how one coming from these areas is easily initiated into the drug game. The 3rd verse is more hopeful than the other two and describes that "other hope" and how you can get out of the hood "without moving a pack". Great song over Anthony Hamilton's "Coming From Where I Come From" and the sample ends saying "well maybe this is what you're supposed to do".
15. Shayla G Up : Always wished Lupe Fiasco delivered a verse on this beat but Shayla G comes through with a quality verse here.
16. Radio Broadcast: FREE CHILLY!!
17. Welcome Back Chilly: Song goes over Mase's "Welcome Back" Lupe Fiasco, Song has a very celebratory tone to it as it was celebrating Chilly Chill getting probation and closes out this Classic project out very well.
If you haven't heard this Mixtape yet you can listen here:
Fanhrenheit 1/15 Part 2: Revenge of the Nerds
The second installment of Lupe Fiasco's mixtape trilogy
1. Revenge of the Nerds Intro: Very similar to the introduction on the verse in the sense of no rapping on it this instrumental sample of the movie "Revenge of the Nerds" builds up then leads right into "Much More"
2. Much More: over the Classic instrumental by De La Soul, Lupe Fiasco interweaves a sleekly interesting story of shoplifting. First verse he starts off discussing the first installment of this mixtape series and then starts detailing the shoplifting that he delves deeper into in the 2nd verse with lines such as "revert to my dance with a shirt full of pants, and my accomplice gotta purse full of pants. A pocket full of purses with no intent to purchase in the plans". A remix is always good when it makes you forget the original and this is one of them.
3. Mean & Vicious : Classic song and example of Lupe Fiasco's "wordsmithiness". The first verse starts with a long extended metaphor of a him "just running with a barrel full of black powder with a hole in it holding it wheezing deep, breathing, running from the fire on the trail I keep leaving, I can't shake it I swear it's heat seeking, I keep seeking' somewhere to hide from it, duck and dive from it. But it keep keeping up just when I think that I've done it, it keep sneaking up. Oh leakin' barrel of black powder how that flame keep reaching us" as a metaphor for how it's inevitable he'll "blow up".....GENIUS. 2nd verse he has a extended metaphor for having trouble with 2nd verses using personification to detail a fight between the two eventually with the 2nd verse showing to be the victor.....did he really struggle with that 2nd verse? Song is filled with genius quotables and he ties in parts of the first two verses to conclude this song.
4. Didn't You Know: Lupe Fiasco starts with a good opening verse. Shayla G follows up with a quality verse. Lupe Fiasco closes off the song with a verse laiden with imagery detailing street life with lines such as "Homie I was a pusher of medicines for hire, So I can walk through the cookers without sweating my attire. Get through the drought without sweating my supplier without giving out my connect to the buyers".
5. Don't Get It Twisted: Lupe Fiasco flows insane on this....literally "was he born with 3 lungs" insane almost as a preliminary version of "Go Go Gadget Flow". Also notice his shoutout to Young Buk from Psychodrama who is said to be featured on Lupe Fiasco's "Tetsuo & Youth".
6. Fast Money : Continuing with the insane flow from "Don't Get It Twisted" song was literally about the lifestyle afforded to a hustler through selling drugs. With opening lines such as "Sneakers, beeper, a heater underneath the seam. On the jeans every time I hit the scene" which details vividly the image of the average 90's dealer in Chicago.
7. Lupe the Killer : delving deeper into the details of Chicago's drug scene this song uses a lot of vivid imagery that can't be better explained through this following visual:
8. Handcuffs: Song details vividly the thin line that seperates criminals and crooked cops.
9. Jedi Mind Tricks: CLASSIC song, so many quotables over such a beautiful instrumental in only one verse. Seems to serve as an interlude of sorts. Only gripe about this song is it isn't longer....complete FIRE
10. Glory: Filled with quotables my favorite "The Truth is limitless in it's range, if you drop a 'T' and look at it in reverse it could. Song carries a very hopeful tone and always had an almost "Gospel" sounding hook.
11. Your Attention Please: Following the somber sound yet hopeful message of Glory; Lupe Fiasco follows it up with a very upbeat sample that doesn't get rapper over but is almost like another short interlude.
12. I'm Coming Freestyle: Soulful instrumental filled with quotable lyrics such as "I'm waking up the roosters until they late, and they waking up the future and send me to the great wise in a suit". Song is very self-aware of his place inside Rap.
13. Gemini - Freestyle: Gemini KILLS this over a hard beat. He always was such a nasty raw rapper. Great verses.
14. Switch: CLASSIC....Lupe Fiasco makes this song into a "Science Project" in which everytime he hears "Switch" on the beat he displays his versatility by switching between 4 Types of Rap styles, contents, and flows seemlessly for the whole song. CLASSIC...song is conceptually Genius!!!!
The visual can shows it very well:
15. Conflict Diamonds: over the Classic Kanye West beat, Lupe Fiasco powerfully shows the history of Diamonds when it comes to children being hurt over them, them being a motivator for gang violence. Favorite bars: "Didn't have a clue that the rapper was helping the rapers. Raiders of the villagers, pillagers of the schools. Shooters of the innocent, torturers of the witnesses. Burners of the businesses and my bracelet was the fuel" such powerful lines that this was always my favorite version of this song (including Kanye West's original, Jay-Z's and Nas remixes).
16. Clean: Lupe Fiasco absolutely slaughters Juelz Santana's "Mic Check 1,2" instrumental with lyrical as well as braggadocio rhymes that were so authentic and his flow was so effortless on this.
17. Outty 5000: Lupe Fiasco flows well on this while delivering lyrically. As well as some subtle shots at Puff Daddy's "Vote or Die" with his opinions on voting and why he doesn't and his idea of better alternatives but the visual will better describe this:
If you have not heard this Mixtape you can download it here:
7/23/14 - Fahrenheit 1/15 Part 3: A Rhyming Ape
This short but sweet final installment of Lupe Fiasco's Fahrenheit 1/15 trilogy is completely over beats by the Gorillaz.
1. Lupe the Gorilla : Serves as an intro for the listener and leads into the 2nd song "FNF Army invades"
2. FNF Army Invades: Samples "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's head" off of "Demon Days" by The Gorillaz. No rapping on this either.
3. Happy Industries : Samples "Feel Good Inc", Lupe Fiasco smoothly describes how he got the idea for this tape in the opening lines "Once upon a time not long ago
An idea, yeah, that's what I had
To take "Demon Days" and a little Pro Tools with my MCing ways and make them mash". Then continues to describe the conditions of the old recording studio they used by saying "Studio is nothing lavish. Matter of fact, it's just an attic, background noise from the fan, that's hitting the mic stand and the outside traffic" but then in the line after notes it "still turned out fantastic". In the closing verse Lupe adds the listener should "sit back and enjoy the show" and it doesn't matter whether you simply enjoy the beats or the flow because at the end of the day that means the listener was pleased regardless.
4. I Don't Feel So Good: Opinions on the meaning of this song varies. I believe the song to be describing "The Cool" or Michael Young History aka My Cool Young History as well as playing part in the storyline portrayed in that album.
5. Heat Under The Baby Seat: Hook that later became "Little Weapon" this song Lupe Fiasco starts off seemingly innocently joking about typical shooting games children play but using it to illustrate how they are desensitized to violence. He raps about 5 different children or scenarios in which Children used real guns. "Terry" robs a candy shop with a gun he purchased using his chore money. "Little Khalil" was recruited by a militant Islamic group which have him a gun to kill Americans and other infidels. "Little Alex" took a gun from his Dad, from the description seems to be "Emo", and goes to school to shoot his bully. "Little Joker" buys a gun on the streets to seek revenge on the people that jumped him last week because he holds his grudges tightly. "Little Sarah" got a gun from "Uncle Sam" aka US Army in order to fight/kill just so she can get funding to go to College. She ends up killing an old man that she thought to be an insurgent. Song accurately depicts violence that goes on sadly everyday.
6. A Bathing Harry: Classic Lupe Fiasco lyricism and wordplay on this one with some great quotables I will pinpoint:
A. "Catch me I'm balling, catch me I'm balling. Catch me like Spalding, catch me like Rawlings"
B. "If he indeed the MC, vitamin/invite him in like GNC, Can't see me like BIG (Notorious BIG) on CMT (Country Music Television).
C. (See Example "A" again) "So catch me I'm balling
I'm sick too if you ain't catch me like coughing. Back when I said you should catch me like Rawlings
It's cool, cause most cats that I bump into can't catch me that often"
7. "Make Sure You Getta Shirt": Great flow on this short song that serves as the closing song for this mixtape. Lupe Fiasco gives credits to those who worked on this project with him while adding "All songs were unwritten by Lupe Fiasco" leading the reader wondering .....was this all freestyled?
If you haven't heard this Mixtape you can listen to it here: