In 2008, Lupe Fiasco was coming off perhaps one of the best hip hop albums of the decade in “Food & Liquor.” While “Food and Liquor” was an album that covered a wide variety of subjects, “The Cool” focused more on storytelling: An approach that I think is perfect for him.
5. THE DIE
Lupe’s Storytelling is at its finest in “The Die.”
In “The Die,” Lupe explains to us what happened to the dead guy he was making references to on Food & Liquor’s “The Cool.” In true Lupe fashion, he does it in a way that is dynamic, action-packed, and hella infectious.
Kudos to GemStone! He puts up a Twista-like performance on this song that I find to be very impressive.
4. THE COOLEST
“The Cool” is both deep and dark. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lupe wrote it in the technodrome.
One part of “The Coolest” that stood out to me was when Lupe talked about the things he loves, and the things that he doesn’t quite love. One thing he loves is “Illmatic,” and one thing he doesn’t love is “Stillmatic” (Astonishing).
Lupe’s flow on this track is amazing! Matter of fact, this whole song is hip-hop in its purest form!
3. DUMB IT DOWN
Not only is “Dumb It Down” one of my favorite Lupe songs of all time, but it’s also one of my favorite rap songs of all time!
I absolutely love how Lupe Fiasco approached “Dumb It Down.” He could’ve easily talked about how the people want him to dumb down his lyrics in the song, but he decided to be complex with it instead. I salute the hell out of Lupe for that!
Listen to these lines by Lupe in one of his verses:
And I’m brainless, which means I’m headless
Like Ichabod Crane is
Or foreplay-less sex is, which makes me saneless
With no neck left to hang the chain with
Which makes me necklace-less, like a necklace theft
And I ain’t used my headrest yet
They said they need proof like a vestless chest
About the best-fed F-F jet in the nest!”
2. HIP HOP HAS SAVED MY LIFE
“Hip Hop Has Saved My Life” revolves around the struggle MCs have to go through to make it out of the hood.
I love everything from the storytelling Lupe does on his verses to Nicki Jean’s emotional hook over the heart-pumping instrumental that powers the song. S**t, why don’t I just say I am a fan of literally everything I heard!
Supposedly, this song is about Slim Thug… I can definitely see that!
What more can I say about this track? It’s commercial but deep; it’s simple, yet Lupe’s verses are really complex. The fact that Lupe talks about a light that’s beaming and bouncing off numerous things in his second verse is amazing!
Commercial fans love this song because of its chorus (Kudos Matthew Santos); Hip hop heads should love it because of its direction. In other words, this song offers two completely different angles to look at it.
“Superstar” is one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME!
𝕊𝕆ℕ𝔾 𝔹𝕐 𝕊𝕆ℕ𝔾 𝔹ℝ𝔼𝔸𝕂𝔻𝕆𝕎ℕ
1. BABA SAYS IT’S COOL (N/A)
2. FREE CHILLY (N/A)
3. GO GO GADGET FLOW (4/5)
4. THE COOLEST (5/5)
5. SUPERSTAR (5/5)
6. PARIS, TOKYO (5/5)
7. GOLD WATCH (4/5)
8. HI-DEFINITION (4/5)
9. HIP HOP SAVED MY LIFE (5/5)
10. INTRUDER ALERT (4/5)
11. STREETS ON FIRE (5/5)
12. LITTLE WEAPON (4/5)
13. GOTTA EAT (4/5)
14. DUMB IT DOWN (5/5)
15. HELLO/GOODBYE (4/5)
16. THE DIE (5/5)
17. PUT YOU ON GAME (4/5)
18. FIGHTERS (5/5)
19. GO BABY (5/5)
Just to show you how much I love this album, back in the day, I had 4 copies of it (1 for my room, 2 for my car, and one for emergency purposes). I was that much of a fan of it, and here is why: For me, it made hip-hop music feel like a Saturday morning cartoon, something that is highly unique. It’s almost like Lupe played the hero for his hood, which translated to music that was not only heard but felt.
This is definitely one of the best albums I’ve heard in the last couple of years! If you like Kendrick’s concept albums, this is just as good. Lupe was a magician at this time, and it showed magnificently.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.