Lupe Fiasco’s turbulent year is wrapping up in a big way with the release of his album “Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt.1.” Lupe Fiasco has been attracting a great deal of attention this past year due to his constant challenges to government and society. “Food and Liquor” brings these challenges to our ears without a hint of hesitation. Lupe uses this album as his chance to reach our public in a crucial time for change and provokes thoughts that we all ignore.
The album begins with a fast-paced spoken word track that immediately paints the image of what the album will entail. As the two lead singles: “Around My Way” and “B**** Bad” come and go, it is barely noticeable because individually they are both strong songs that continue to raise questions but as lead singles they fall flat.
Lupe does not let up with his efforts to question, “what is going on in the world,” though his efforts are strong, the result is not. The album begins to feel repetitive very early on and warrants the question “Should I keep listening?” Thankfully right before it becomes frustrating the mood of the album takes a turn and Lupe shows versatility. One of the more interesting tracks on the album “Heart Donor” marks the switch in the album. At first listen, “Heart Donor” sounds like a regular love song but looking deeper it is Lupe’s love song to his fans. This song is followed by “How Dare You” an upbeat song that changes the pace as well as gives the listener a break from the more serious content of the album.
Lupe continues with the theme of love with the song “Battle Scars” which is a more serious and emotionally charged song that transitions the darker tones. The album begins to turn back to where it started with “Brave Heart,” a weaker track that seems to serve as filler between the two moods that come before and after it. The album insignificantly continues on the same pace for the remainder of the tracks.
No one can question Lupe Fiasco’s lyrical excellence on this album, the subject of which he raps about could be debated, but the lyrics stand for themselves. “Food and Liquor II” is a thought provoking and substantial album that asks questions about the things that we see and are too afraid to wonder why they are that way. The album does not manage to balance its provocative nature with attractive songs for all listeners. Dedicated Lupe fans and politic-educated hip hop fans will be able to appreciate this album, but the everyday listener might shy away.