Lupe Fiasco

I want to apologize to Jeppe and Mr. Glass beforehand, I doubt you guys will agree with this post. I am a huge fan of Chicago conscious hip-hop, I could rattle off names, but that would be useless... one name (Mic Terror)... show dude some love. Anyway, I have been a pretty staunch supporter of Lupe Fiasco since my boy OJ Deadwood introduced me to him back in '06 with "I Gotcha". I found "Food & Liquor" to be a great release, and "The Cool" to be a very good album also... and I guess you could go so far as to say that Lupe is a breath of fresh air to the industry. But lately there's been talk that Lupe is the "G.O.A.T.", which is why I say WAIT A SECOND!

Don't get it twisted. I support Lupe as much as anyone else, I have both of his albums and I plan on getting "LupEnd" as well. But this "G.O.A.T." talk is coming a little bit prematurely. Nobody crowned Nas king after "Illmatic" and "It Was Written", and nobody crowned Jay after "Reasonable Doubt" and "The Blueprint", nobody crowned Mobb after "Hell On Earth", "Juvenile Hell", and "The Infamous". I hope I don't have to ask, does "The Cool" compare to "Illmatic"? to "The Infamous"? to "Reasonable Doubt"?

To me, it doesn't compare to any of those albums. See, the thing that makes an album "classic" is sheer amount of great songs. I'd argue that "Reasonable Doubt" isn't classic because of the few duds that are on there, and I'd argue that "Illmatic" is the best hip-hop album ever made, because every song but "The Genesis" is nothing short of amazing. When it comes to Lupe's albums, can you honestly claim that the whole CD from cover to cover was nothing short of amazing? I can't... "Free Chilly", "Hi-Definition", "Go Go Gadget Flow", "Paris Tokyo", "Go Baby", and "Iesha Poem" are songs I skip every time I listen to that album. And off "Food & Liquor", I skip the first three songs and the last two every time.

I agree that Lupe is a great artist and what makes him great and better than 99 % of rappers today is his ability to tie amazing songs to an abstract idea (the streets and the game) to two of his albums. "The Cool" is by no means a hip hop classic, in the late 80's and early 90's albums similar in content were coming out month after month. So really the reason Lupe gets his name in talks like "G.O.A.T" is because he is rapping in a watered-down generation of hip-hop. Sure he's better than Wayne, Boosie, Ace Hood, and Plies... but that doesn't make him the greatest. Kobe is better than Arenas, Nash, and Wade... but does that make him better than Michael?

What I'm trying to say, is that Lupe is not the Greatest, and neither of his albums are classics... not just yet anyway. In the early 2000's, "Get Rich Or Die Tryin" was a classic, every Nas album is now a classic, some even called "Kingdom Come" a classic. Stop using that word so liberally or it will come to mean nothing soon. Lupe Fiasco is a great artist, and in time will come to be one of hip-hop's greatest MC's... but still it's a little early and a little foolish to involve him in "GOAT" talks...

But that's just me. I'd like to hear what staff has to say about this.
And before I forget, here's a goodie, Lupe at the 2007 Hip Hop Honors. Figured I'd drag his name through the mud just a little bit more.

Posted on 4:46 PM by Guy Fawkes and filed under , | 11 Comments »


JeppE said... @ October 19, 2008 at 1:35 PM

Nice post, and I'm affraid that this repl is going to be a little long...

First of; you're right when you say that too many albums are "classics" now-a-days. If we take a look at the 'real' word "classic" - the definition - few albums comming out today match that. I'd say "Below the Heavens" is a classic, and actually, I'll also hail "The Cool" as being a "classic" (explanation's comming up!). I guess that's why you statet by apologizing to me and Mr. Glass, cause you probably knew that we would disagree with "The Cool" NOT being a classic.

So why is "The Cool" a classic? - Well, first off; to some point you're right that texts similar to Lupe Fiascos came out on a regular basis back in the 90'ies, but then again, not at all!
See, Lupe has some skills in rapping that, like it or not, are incomparable in many ways. His story-telling abilities are among the best ever heard, and his metaphor-camouflaged lyrics are inquestionable in the top 5 of "all time clever lyrics". Lyrics wise - Lupe's a classic. Beat-wise is where the arguing probably begins. In my opinion, one thing that makes an album a classic, is it's state of mind, at the given' time. "Illmatic" is a classic because that kind of flow was unheard of back then. All classic albums meant something for it's time, if not, I woulden't go as far as calling it a classic.
"The Cool" means something for out time. It means something for the NOW. In our time, right now, hip hop is having a difficult time breathing, because of a commercialsized market, and greedy artists that earns million of dollars by releaseing 1 crappy album in america, where the audiance doesn't seem to be that quality-minded. Too much bad "hiphop" is being released, which makes it hard for GOOD hiphop to come through. Because of this, we see alot of artists trying to find the recipe for "the golden era of hiphop", the 90'ies formula, so they can produce albums similar to the classics that were released back then. But the problem is, that THIS IS NOW, and instead of looking back and try to recreate something that was great 1½ decade ago, "we" should look forward and create a sound that people will look back at and say; "man, those 2010's were just a golden time". Hardly anyone is thinking like that. People are scared of taking the next step, they're kinda stuck in the past. What we need is dreamers who act, and not actors who dream, because that won't get is anywhere.
Lupe Fiasco is a dreamer, he has the means of bringing hiphop to the next "golden stage". He's bringing the ideas and koncepts of old school hiphop, and adopting them in the sound of today. THAT is why "The Cool" is a classic - because it is important for the state of hiphop right now. We need torch-carriers like Lupe, to show us the light, and make hiphop proud again. I believe in him, and I know for certain, that his trilogy will be look back at, as the "first step in the new direction".

This is my opinion, this is my argument for "The Cool" to be as much a classic as "Illmatic".

Much love & respect
- JeppE

JNolanIsCool said... @ October 19, 2008 at 6:42 PM

I'd go as far as to say that "Food and Liquor" is a classic as well. Not many artists no matter how mainstream they are have made a better introduction for themselves in a long time. Maybe I'm biased, but I play that album front to back whenever I turn it on. I just think there has to be a certain intelligence level that people must have in order to understand the work. Unfortunately, many people don't wish to understand it. If Lupe had fans like Lil Wayne's, I think more people would agree to the GOAT talks. But Lupe himself wouldn't even embrace such status anyway....That's just my take on it.

Anonymous said... @ October 19, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Lupe is a beast but greatest of all time is going to far and as far as classics go Food and Liquor is my favorite album and it is a very good one all of the songs on it are great so I'd call it a classic.

Anonymous said... @ October 19, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Lupe is a beast but greatest of all time is going to far and as far as classics go Food and Liquor is my favorite album and it is a very good one all of the songs on it are great so I'd call it a classic.

Anonymous said... @ October 20, 2008 at 2:23 AM

Wow Jeppe ! Couldn't have said it better I mean you hit every point on why The Cool is and will be considered a classic in the years to come. The only thing I have to add is that Lupe might not be the greatest of all time at this point in time, but I believe that yes, he does have the pontential to become one of the greatest. Lets just hope he dosnt really retire.

Mr. Glass said... @ October 20, 2008 at 9:50 AM

I defintly AGREE that Below The Heavons is a classic! and ima prolly re-post my review of that cd sometime today!

and guy I never said he was the greatest of all time! i said he is one of the greatest! and he Jeppe said his lyrical abilities are practiclly unmatched!

Wally $ean said... @ October 21, 2008 at 7:48 PM

i gotta disagree with this one. i like food and liquor a lot, but as of late, i have grown to strongly dislike lupe. i will admit he has considerable talent, and his lyricism on f&l was top-notch (note: i have not listened to the cool in full, but i have listened to enough songs to render an effective opinion). so why don't i like lupe?

1. duplicitous mf'er: his old shit is all about guns and shit, next he's a conscious backpacker, now he's a kanye-esque hipster. identity crisis, anyone?
changing your style up ever so slightly is one thing, but changing your entire persona is wack in my opinion.

2. hipster: he's soooo ironic, it makes me want to choke a baby. i dug his whole nerdy-skateboarder thing (partly b/c i can relate), but now this hipster non-sense needs to stop. but then again, i just hate (most) hipsters.

3. a tribe called quest-gate: really? i know it's insignificant, but he shoulda manned up and admitted he fucked up the words instead of triumphing mc hammer over the tribe. it also shows how manufactured his entire image is. he never really listened to the tribe, but he's ok he's biting their style? fail...

JeppE said... @ October 22, 2008 at 3:21 AM

"Kanye-esque hipster"? I can't see why he should be anything near that? I'd like you to explain.
- Also, If you think his lyrics fell in quality from F&L to The Cool, i suggest you take another listen..

NLBleach said... @ October 27, 2008 at 9:20 AM

I really agree with all that jeppE said. To me, Lupe is the most talented Hip-hop artist these days. there are maybe a few others who can compete with Lupe's skills.

one thing that I hate is when people say there is "a greatest" rapper or artist of all times. I think that everyone has a different opinion about who is the greatest because everyone has a different "taste" when it comes to music. For an example: some people I know are die hard fans of G-Unit, which I simply can't understand. But still I respect there choise, as long as they respect mine.
Everyone has there own opinion on what they do and don't like. therfore I think it is not possible to say if someone is "the greatest" (although people like Soulja Boy doesn't deserve to have any fans at all.. Soudlja Boy, be proud, you killed someone, it was Hip-Hop)

as for The Cool, I think it's a great album and like jeppE explained The Cool should be considerd as a Classic.
Can't wait to hear LupEND

PS: excuse me for my English..=)

One Love

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