After his meteoric rise in popularity, Lupe Fiasco followed up with his major label debut on Atlantic Records. This album was executive produced by Jay-Z and is critically hailed by many as a classic. This featured production from Soundtrakk, Prolyfic, The Neptunes and Kanye West. Lupe recieved 4 Grammy nominations for "Food & Liquor" including Best Rap Album of 2006.
1. Intro: Dope spoken word from Ayesha Jaco (Lupe Fiasco's sister) that really sets the tone beautifully through her poetry. Lupe Fiasco then discusses the role of "Food" and "Liquor" on concept/theme of the album on a smooth beat that drops right into "Real"
2. Real ft Sarah Green: Produced by Soundtrakk, this amazing opening track also featuring vocals from Sarah Green really draws the listener in for what's in store.
3. Just Might Be Okay ft Gemini: Produced by Prolyfic, this song builds on the hype delved into on real while discussing different social commentaries from various perspectives.
4. Kick, Push: CLASSIC, produced by Soundtrakk this track was the first Lupe Fiasco track I remember hearing and I still remember seeing the music video on MTV for the first time and feeling like "Wow this is a special MC". The godly "Boom Bap esque"production of Soundtrakk mixed with the great rapping of Lupe Fiasco on this makes for an instant enjoy. Song influenced a lot of the African American skater community to feel it was cool to Skateboard as well as be yourself or be different. Song was also featured on the "NBA Live 2007" soundtrack. All around GREAT song from start to finish.
5. I Gotcha ft Pharell Williams: Produced by the Neptunes, this songs smooth production goes very well with a more laid back flow from Lupe Fiasco.
6. The Instrumental ft Jonah Matranga: Very deep song in which Lupe Fiasco uses the metaphor of being trapped to a "box" as a metaphor for being addicted to different sources of media or entertainment. First verse describes a person sitting, watching and imitating the people in the boxes (TV) and the second verse is a person sitting and listening to the people in the boxes (Radio). Genius!
7. He Say, She Say: Very relatable story of absent fathers. Each verse takes a perspective of the situation from the son's, the mother's to the father's. Also could be the early beginnings of the storyline of Michael Young History on Lupe Fiasco's 2nd album "The Cool"
8. Sunshine: A love song that lightens the mood after the previous song's heavy subject matter. Very poetic words used to describe the feeling of love; "I like her like a metaphor, it's hard to get".
9. Daydreamin' ft Jill Scott: Lupe Fiasco uses a robot as a metaphor for a project building in this Grammy award winning song. In the final verse Lupe Fiasco uses a lot of typical/cliche Hip Hop video imagery to describe the ills of the music industry and how the images are there to pulute our eyes. Beautiful hook from Jill Scott.....Classic song
10. The Cool: Produced by Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco begins the story of Michael Young History that he would later use as a full concept on the album "The Cool". With great production and full of sheer dark imagery this song is one of my all time favorites.
11. Hurt Me Soul: Very laiden with Social commentary, Lupe Fiasco literally talks about things in the world that "hurt his soul". That 3rd verse gives me chills to this day.
12. Pressure ft Jay-Z: Classic verses from both literally going back and forth to show their lyrical prowess. At a time around when Jay-Z had retired, Lupe Fiasco boasts on this track "and big homie's outta retirement". Lupe Fiasco's whole first verse uses a lot of subtle wordplay imagery to describe FNF as just a sewing machine. Lyrically I feel Lupe Fiasco edges him out by far with lines such as "A little big (Notorious BIG) in the waist, 2 pockets (2pac) on the back call em Luvi's old jeans/OG's covered in blue dye/die". But either way it was great to see a Classic "clash of the titans" or "Student vs the Teacher" songs on this album.
13. American Terrorist ft Matthew Santos: Full of social commentary Lupe Fiasco destroys this song fit with a great Matthew Santos hook. Song is beautifully made.
14. The Emporer's Soundtrack: full of subtle wordplay song carries a very victorious tone as Lupe Fiasco boasts "there ain't no business lest Fiasco's in it" over another great Soundtrakk beat
15. Kick, Push 2: a Follow-up to the original this song goes deeper to describe the reasons these different children seek skateboarding as a refuge from their real life issues they're dealing with on a daily basis
16. Outro: Lupe Fiasco shouts out every friend, family or business partner that he feels helped him over this process. Closes out this album very well.
Bonus/Leaked Food & Liquor era songs
Theme Music to a drive by: this might be one of my favorite Lupe Fiasco instrumentals of all time, this song is just beautifully smooth from the beat to the flow. Lupe Fiasco drops some very dope lines about materialism and valueing what really matters on this
Tilted: Song was used on the "Need for Speed: Most Wanted" soundtrack. Lupe Fiasco is rapping about cars and luxury
Ghetto Story: Song over a chillingly smooth instrumental as Lupe Fiasco raps about the perils of the Ghetto lifestyle from various perspectives such as the child abandoned by their father, the mother and the father who abandons their family. It's a vicious cycle