Posts Tagged ‘Lupe’

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, 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.

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.