Early Edition Contributing Writer
“Around My Way: Freedom Ain’t Free;” “Lamborghini Angels;” “Battle Scars.” These are just a few of the singles so far released from rapper Lupe Fiasco’s upcoming anticipated album Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album set to drop next month on Sept. 25. This is Lupe’s fourth studio album succeeding his previous album Lasers which dropped in 2011.
Lupe Fiasco is recognized as one of the pioneers of the conscious hip-hop movement, focusing on social issues. This is shown in many of his songs such as “Kick, Push,” from Food and Liquor, and “Hip Hop Saved My Life,” from The Cool. Some of the subjects he focuses on in his past albums have included absent parents, terrorism, Islam and religion, war, and prostitution. When asked in the past, he has attributed such themes to his highly cultured upbringing, having described his mom as very intellectual and his father as a Renaissance man.
As far as songwriting goes, Lupe tends to utilize various lyrical techniques. He likes to view hip hop as a way of storytelling and uses metaphors and literary statements in his work, which he has described as “getting from point A to point B in as few words as possible.” In addition to all this, Lupe Fiasco also expresses his anti-establishment views in many of his songs. In the single “Words I Never Said” from Lasers, Lupe really expresses his distaste towards the media and politics, calling talking heads Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck racists, and even takes a shot at the President: “….Gaza strip was getting bombed / Obama didn’t say shit. That’s why I didn’t vote for him, next one either.”
His anti-establishment themes and animosity towards America shows up again in his 2011 mixtape Friend of the People: I Fight Evil. In the introduction of this mixtape Lupe samples an excerpt from a speech by Howard Zinn. In his speech, Zinn explains how America’s habit of getting into war has almost become an addiction and we’ve become obsessed with being a military superpower, but also discusses why we don’t choose to be a humanitarian superpower.
In an interview done in June 2011 on the CBS program What’s Trending, he expands on the political content of his music: “My fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama and the United States of America. I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s actually causing the other forms of terrorism. You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become
In Food and Liquor II, he revisits his past views in his single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” and also goes back to his roots of bringing about social issues in “Bitch Bad,” another single off the album, in which he discusses the misuse of the word “bitch” in hip-hop songs and the negative effects it has in shaping the mindsets of children.
With song titles and lyrics such as the singles already released, Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album already looks to be on the controversial side of things, which is something Fiasco is no stranger to. Whether it’s in an interview or in music, Lupe has no problem expressing himself and telling his fans and everyone else what he is thinking—and his new album surely will not disappoint in this regard. And especially with a Part 2 to go along with this album already in the works, it doesn’t look like this will be the last we hear from Lupe Fiasco.
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