Posts Tagged ‘Lupe Fiasco’

Lupe Fiasco Now Selling Verses For $500

He's back at it...

He’s back at it…

Ok, since we did a think piece in my last post, this time out, we’re going to go light (relatively). After being called “arrogant” by battle rapper Dizaster, thus continuing their long-standing “feud,” news came that Lupe was going to venture into the world of Fiverr-like gigs. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for an actual feature, that’ll run you a smooth $50,000 (which isn’t all that much, considering it is Lupe, but still). Nope, these $500 a pop verses are personalized one-verse-songs for people willing to part with Benjamin and his four other brothers. Think those Valentine’s Day bears with the recordable message feature, but with Lupe’s face plastered on the front.

Or something like that…

We all know some random rapper’s still going to try to make it a “featured” song, though (contract be damned). So, this is going to be fun to see play out. Now, I’ve had my issues with Lupe (still think he’s dope lyrically, but not always on-point in other ways), but this is actually pretty inventive. I personally wouldn’t drop $500 on a personalized verse, only because there are more important things to do with that money. Plus, I could use that to help someone else out who hasn’t already made it. I’m just saying. I support my favorite artists, but there’s a limit, you know?

On Sagas in Hip-Hop

On Sunday, I brought the musical saga I started a couple of years ago with #OneYearLater to a close with the release of Death of the King. While that album is epicness (what, you expected me to say it sucks?), it got me thinking about other sagas presented in hip-hop. Here are a few of my favorite “sagas,” to lighten the mood.

Lil’ Wayne’s Carter series (2004-201x)

Kendrick Lamar’s story (O.D., Section.80, and GKMC)

Jay-Z’s Blueprint series (2001-2009, thus far)

Big K.R.I.T.’s story (from K.R.I.T. wuz Here to King Remembered in Time)

Lupe Fiasco’s “Michael Young History” story (explained in-depth by the good folks at The LUPEND Blog)

If you haven’t had a chance to check these sagas out, please do so. They act as time capsules into these artists’ lives and the lives of those around them during the time of each album’s release. It’s fun to revisit, and also imperative to ensure that we learn from the mistakes and transgressions each artist has spoken on, so we can ensure a brighter future. As always, this is just my opinion.

@SpeedontheBeat

Greetings and saliva, folks.

Hope your hangovers are recovered and your ready for some real spit (see what I did there?), because it’s time for Speed’s Wishlist for Hip-Hop in the Upcoming Frame of Time.* I used to do these annually on one of my older blogs, but that site was lost in The Great AOL Disintegration of the Mid-2000s. So, without further ado, here are some talking points that, if followed, can only bring peace and awesomeness into the world of hip-hop.

First, can we stop trying to sound like Chief Keef, Future/Rich Homie Quan and/or Migos? I mean, come on! I get that music is one of those things that goes by the philosophy of more is better and “if it worked for them, it’ll damn sure work for me because I’m better and more real than them.” But, if I’ve got to sit through one more faux-sung, over-AutoTuned track about trapping, thots/t.h.o.t. (a word/acronym that must be sent to pasture–and soon), and the lot with that “Karate Chop” flow, I swear that I’m going to start throwing chairs. And we all know what happens when people throw chairs (Ed. Note: link contains a use of “the n-word”). Now, I can’t lie. If I’m in the club, and I’ve had a couple…ummm…sips of Sprite, I don’t want to hear Immortal Technique, Nas, or Lupe. Heck, I don’t even want to hear my music when I’m partying, so everything has its place. But, get out their lane, random up-and-coming rapper 217291.

Secondly, I’d love to hear a female rapper (sorry Jean Grae, there is still a socioeconomic need to differentiate between male and female rappers–even if I don’t necessarily agree with it) to drop bars without referring to their sex or referring to themselves as female dogs (keeping it PG here). I know that people try to “reclaim” words and re-purpose them as strong, pro-cause terms, but I still can’t see much too “awesome” about being a dog. Maybe I’m missing something.

Ya...don't say, Speed?

Eh…nah. (Had to bring this one into ’14)

Third, can we stop the Drake jokes? No, this one has nothing to do with some upcoming news I’ve got for everyone the fact that I’m also writing for Boi-1da.net now. It’s more so that the jokes are repetitive and dated. It’s like watching an episode of Two and a Half Men. On repeat. For a year. You can see how that may make a person go all Robot Chicken (Ed. Note: Viewer’s discretion is advised as this video is from the show Robot Chicken). Better yet, if we’re gonna do Drake jokes, it’s like watching Degrassi: The Next Generation for a year and only getting to watch the episode where Jimmy gets shot. Yes, I watch(ed) Degrassi. In high school, and oddly in college, it got me into some…great situations. Now, some people, like Big GhostFASE and the like, they made their name off calling out some of the more…ahem…emotive rappers out there, and that’s awesome. But, that doesn’t mean everyone needs to/can do it as effectively.

This. Must. Stop.

This. Must. Stop.

Fourth, can conscious rappers get off their high horses? If there’s one thing that gets my goat more than anything, it’s that sort of you-know-what. I mean, seriously! It’s bad enough when Fake Deep Twitter talks about stuff they don’t fully comprehend. It’s even worse when you’ve gotta listen to entire albums of that gobbledygook, which brings me to my next point.

DOUBLE SEGUE!

DOUBLE SEGUE!

Fifth, can rappers get back to, oh I don’t know, rapping?! Between Joe Budden giving out relationship advice, Lupe tweeting books, Kanye “ranting” but kind of making sense, and so on, I had a headache. We get it. You’re bored and have down time like regular people, so you want to do something random. That’s cool. That’s great, actually, if it’ll keep you out of jail. But I want more music, guys and girls. Get to that, then we can talk about your extracurriculars.

Sixth, and this one is kind of local. DMV artists, let’s try to make history by having a year where we all get along and don’t start beefing over “he said, she said” tomfoolery. Because honestly, almost no one outside the DMV knows who any of us are. Heck, people have found out more about Wale through who he’s wanted to punch in the mouth at Complex than his music. Let’s not even get started on the Baltimore hip-hop scene (and yes, there is one. And no, it doesn’t just have Baltimore Club Music heads in it). If we, as an area (and don’t give me that “I’m bigger than DMV” shtick when people in the DMV the block where you stay have no idea who you are), can actually put our heads together, get off our self-imposed ego trips and actually make, oh I don’t know, music…we’d get somewhere. Beef’s are a real part of life and not everyone will love everyone else, regardless of how much easier it’d make things. But, for the love of apple pie, at least try.

*changed from “year” on request of those that are in the “it’s just a year” camp. Even though, you’ve gotta admit: focusing on just one year is a bit corny.

Greetings, Earthlings. It is I, the No-Fi King with another “This Week in Hip-Hop.” This week, we will focus on the following: Kanye’s At It Again(?), Lupe’s Story Time, and Paul Walker’s death (yes, Paul Walker has hip-hop connections aside from just appearing with Ludacris).

Now, I know that you’ve all seen Kanye’s dissertations/rants/fails at escaping anti-blackness over the past few days/weeks. Most of which, while funny, have kind of painted a potentially tainted picture of what Kanye West represents and who he is as a person. Kanye has, to a degree, come to represent the angry black male who thinks they know about “The Problem,” but when questioned on their beliefs, they’d rather “revolt” (take note of the quotes on that word) than answer the question and facilitate actual growth. You tend to see this with some pro-black groups these days. But, that’s not what this post is about.

Yesterday, Kanye West put himself in the shoes of one of the Original Rap God(s), Christopher Wallace, by saying that Biggie probably would’ve disliked the beats for “Juicy” and “Big Poppa” as much as Yeezus Khristdashian does. Now, call me the Devil’s Advocate, but I don’t think that Biggie would’ve signed off on a track if he didn’t mess with it even remotely. We know the “story” that Puff pushed Big into making more mainstream songs. But I’m pretty sure that Big was just as cool with it once he saw the money and the buzz it got him for his non-“Juicy” songs. And regarding the beat selection? ‘Ye indicates that he personally disliked them because of their non-ATCQ sound. Now, I like jazz rap as much as the next guy. I’m kind of a backpacker. But, you can’t really dislike those beats and call yourself “hip-hop,” solely off the strength that they’re simplistic enough to get everyone intrigued with what you’re saying. That’s the criteria of a classic song. A decent beat, amazing lyrics, and a relatable situation/story. If that’s not hip-hop, Arteest, I think I should just leave here or change this post to “This Week in Chicken and Waffles” because I don’t know what’s wrong with the world.

Next, rapper/preacher/activist/potentially gifted (no Wale) person Lupe Fiasco announced that he was dropping a new project on Twitter. That project is…a novel…on Twitter, that’s some sort of neo-noire meets otaku meets hip-hop project. Essentially, Samurai Champloo without (pardon the pun) The Cool and more LASERS. When I read the words “robotic Kevlar jellyfish” in reference to faux female anatomy, I knew I was stepping into something…not good and potentially conceived from a scattered brain. Now, I applaud Lupe on trying something different. But, at least make it good. This seems like something that I would’ve written in high school and thought was genius, then got to college and trashed five times over.

But that’s just me.

It's this guy again...

It’s this guy again. Can you just get back to (good) music.

And, finally, on a sadder note (as I’m sure you all are aware), actor Paul Walker and his friend/business partner Roger Rodas were killed this past Saturday when the Ferrari they were driving in crashed and burst into flames. Walker was 40 and Rodas was 38. My condolences go out to those directly effected by this tragedy. On a more music side, the Fast and the Furious series has put a lot of people on to hip-hop in a sense. For instance, before the second installment, I would have never thought I’d see Ludacris in a movie. And then, he appeared in Crash and blew me away. I think his casting had something to do with the fact that he’d shown some potential in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Furthermore, the franchise and its use of hip-hop has allowed for a gateway into the culture. May you both rest in peace. The below video was taken from Tyrese’s Instagram on Walker’s 40th birthday.

And this concludes another week in hip-hop. In light of the whole Paul Walker thing (and some other personal concerns), I want to leave you all with one thought. Live every day as if it’s your last. Yeah, I know that we hear “YOLO” every day, but many don’t.

Ok, guess who’s bizzack, even though you can’t smell the crack on my clothes. Nor do I have to relapse on hoes. Thankfully, of course. That’d just be messy. It’s the No-Fi King back with another edition of This Week in Hip-Hop on Thee Arteest!

In the same week that Diddy says that hip-hop’s gotten too soft, Ja Rule talks about his love of prison cheesecake. No, that’s not some sort of euphemism. He really made cheesecake in prison. The game done changed, Sean. People don’t want to see gangstas or “hard” music. Hell, they barely want to see artists go at each other. People’ll say they do (see: “Control”), but when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, the internets go crazy for a bit and no one else really responds (or if they do, they don’t come correct). For instance, with “Control” and that TDE Cypher, they’ve got people hyped up–for now. Most artists have forgotten about “Control” as, while it said a lot, it still didn’t say much–in a long-term sort of way. Inversely, and I’m not championing the kid, but someone like a Chief Keef comes out talking about “bang-bang kill kill” and people are ready to call him the scourge of the earth. But, wait! I thought that’s what you wanted, more “realism” to counter the backpackers and such.

lupe-krit

Anyhow, before I have to take this to my own blog, looks like Lupe’s going to get some Cadillatica for his new album. Big K.R.I.T is slated to appear (in some way) on Lu’s Tetsuo and Youth. Now, long-time followers of me know that I have my reservations about Lupe, but this could very well be a dope combination–especially if K.R.I.T actually spits on the track as well as produces it. Now, some of you may ask, “Weren’t KRIT and Lu on the same song before?” No. As far as I know, and as far as The Google’s told me, they appeared on separate versions of Trae’s “I’m On,” but not on the same song (aside from some random Soundcloud remixes).

Suffering from Success, or “How I Made the Same CD Twenty Times”

DJ Khaled has released another monstrocity I mean hellacious I mean weedpl–OK, you know what? They say if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it. DJ Khaled released another CD this week. If you liked his other work, you’ll probably still find something on this one you like–unless you’re tired of hearing the same people do the same song for the umpteenth time. If you grew tired of his mixtape-albums back before LeBron won a championship, then you should stay away. Stay far away. I know, “Speed hates Khaled but loves Jean Grae’s album. He’s such a snob.” No, I’m just a fan of good music. Khaled and his team have been doing, legitimately, the same song since I was in high school. I don’t care if the song’s talking about guns and butter, the socioeconomic decline of middle-class Black America, or watching a stripper do pole tricks. Just make it good, and I’ll give it a chance. That’s all I ask of music, is that it actually try to be good. Even if it fails, even if it sounds more no-fi than anything I’ve put out, even if it flops–just try. That’s what gets me about the Khaled album-tapes. There’s no sort of effort anymore to even try to make it good.

Well, I’m out until next time. Hopefully, this time next week I can actually be on a full episode of #TeamDARRadio.

Unlike Lupe’s previous albums, Lasers takes a break from the usual sounds fans expect to hear in an L-U-P-E project. With features from the likes of MDMA, John Legend and Trey Songz, Lasers is arguably the most commercial album Lupe has created to date. But this is not to brand Lupe’s shift in conventional sound as a negative one. As most fans know, Lupe struggled with getting his album released due to label executives worrying about its marketability. So while Lupe maintains his super lyrical content on many of the songs on the album, he created a few commercially marketable gems for both the radio and a new demographic of prospective fans. By making music that could satisfy both the fans and the label he was able to release Lasers and demonstrate his versatility as an artist.

Lupe-Fiasco-Lasers-CoverWith his up-tempo intro into Lasers titled Letting Go which features a heavily synthesized Fiasco backed by the soulful vocals of Sarah Green (Her vocals can also be heard on Lupe’s freshman and sophomore albums) and the audio production of The Future (Produced 4/12 tracks on LASERS) the song sports a collective of rock, hip-hop and even somewhat classical influences, while maintaining its Lupe-esque story-telling style. Spewing ominous rhymes like, “You’re getting heavy to hold. Think I’ll be letting you go” and “Burdens on my shoulders, now. Burning all my motives down. Inspiration drying up. Motivation slowing down.” reminiscent of the gloomy sophomore album The Cool, it seems to mirror the affliction caused by his highly publicized album troubles with Atlantic Records.

The title Letting Go can also be seen as a kind of play on words because the song alerts its listeners that Lupe is going to let go of The Cool and move forward with Lasers. The genre-bending song is a great starting point for the album and easily segues into his highly controversial hit Words I Never Said which features Skylar Grey’s vocals, a bass heavy beat produced by Alex Da Kid and lyrical content that would make a FOX News executive cringe. Sporting lines like, “I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bull$@!%.” and “9/11 building 7, did they really pull it?” definitely shows Lupe’s knack for delivering no-holds-barred content to the masses.

But, this dark presence and dim content turns brighter as listeners progress through the project. The audio journey begins to show some optimism in the Needlz produced track titled Till I Get There. Lupe addresses the initial album release problems at the start of the song, saying “Album on hold, whole world on hold” but features hopeful lyrics like, “… yeah I got flaws, I know I’m not perfect, but all my ups and downs will soon be worth it when I get there.” This is said to prove that Lupe is still on a journey to become the greatest artist, fighting to maintain his originality and authenticity in an industry overrun by doctored and coerced sounds, but he is hopeful and knows he will get himself and the album to where he wants them to be.

We also see a change in the demeanor of the album in tracks like I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now, Out of My Head, and Coming Up which are all faster paced, up-tempo easy to dance to tracks that don’t just have positive messages, but also a celebratory feel to them. Lasers could arguably be considered the light after the dark of The Cool, which was created at a rough time in Lu’s life when he’d just lost his father to diabetes and endured his good friend and business partner Charles “Chilly” Patton’s sentencing to 44 years in prison. Although the journey for getting Lasers a release date was an extensive one, it proves to have had a rewarding end. On a scale of one to ten, I would have to give Lasers a strong eight. I highly recommend that fans of hip-hop, Lupe Fiasco or just good music purchase the album with an open-mind and even wider opened ears. Whether you like thought-provoking lyrics, dance records, or rocking out, Lasers has something for everyone and proves that Lupe’s artistry will never be stopped because after all, The Show Goes On with LASERS!

For more opinions and reviews on Lasers look at: NPRmusic, AllHipHop, BBCMusic, and LATimes.