Some people hate it. Some people love it. And some are just in between.
© 2007 Atlantic Records
Review By Chris Willman for Entertainment Weekly (EW.Com)
Grade: A –
Last year, Lupe Fiasco set himself apart from the rap pack with a debut full of brainy, Kanye-style positivity, including a laid-back skateboarding anthem, ”Kick, Push.” You might wonder what happened to that guy if you’ve read how his follow-up, The Cool, is a concept album about gangsta life. But in truth, only four songs address that story line and thankfully leaving the bulk of this CD to instead indulge in Fiasco’s divergent themes and musical explorations.
Want self-righteous anger? See ”Dumb It Down,” where he imitates fellow rappers and white execs urging him to get crass (”Pour champagne on the b—- !” he bellows satirically). Want blistering social commentary? Check out ”Little Weapon,” which conflates video game violence with the real stuff. Want wistfulness? ”Fighters” laments that ”when the fighters are all around, all the lovers are underground.” Want bubblegum? Head to the album’s climax, the goofy, girl-crazy ”Go Baby Go.”
Sonically, he’s got the same kind of gratifying ADD going on. Some tracks, like ”Paris, Tokyo,” contrast his Twista-style rapid-fire delivery with a lazy rhythm that’s close to smooth jazz. ”Hello/Goodbye,” at the other extreme, has U.K. electro outfit U.N.K.L.E. providing a tense rock feel. Fiasco’s wide-ranging pop instincts rarely fail him, even on the few cuts that are steeped in the street-life narrative. It turns out randomness makes for a surprisingly unifying concept
Discuss what you think about Lupe Fiasco’s newest album, The Cool. READ AND DISCUSS BY CLICKING HERE.