What can possibly be said about the release of this record? The struggle behind its release was probably the most documented in Hip Hop history. Saigon faced a famous uphill struggle to finally get his “Greatest Story Never Told” on shelves, but the hill Lupe Fiasco faced was somewhat of a mountain, and it’s gradient could only be described as, well, vertical.
Though after all the troubles and strife and only God knows how many months down the line, Lasers was given a release date and on the 8th March there it was.
Despite the building anticipation and hype surrounding the album, the air was filled with a hefty amount of ambiguity, especially after some fan’s negative reactions to the initial singles released. Was Lupe happy with the album? Did he really hate his own album as some interviews suggested?
Fiasco seemed quick to distance himself from Lasers almost immediately after it’s release, arguably sooner, after it’s leak roughly a week before the official release date. In various interviews the chi-town emcee professed the album was “the fans album” and not something he would ideally wish to put out. It was claimed that the label (Atlantic) forced songs on the artist and demanded they be on his album.
Lupe is renowned for his concept tracks and abstract approach to songs. Not only was he the nerdy, emo-rapper, he was the intelligent and creative one too. Now nerdy rappers are popular and the arrival of artists like Drake has made it cool to produce nothing but cheesy anthems with regurgitated choruses and corny lyrics. As the rap world seems to have moved more towards Lupe’s own unique style Lasers really could have been used to once again cement his uniqueness and show other wanabee Lupes how it should be done.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/01-Letting-Go-Ft.-Sarah-Green-Produced-By-The-Future-1.mp3″ text=”Lupe Fiasco Letting Go Ft. Sarah Green (Prod. By The Future)” dl=”0″]
Right from the outset it’s obvious Lupe is taking aim at the clubbing crowd. “Letting Go” is an anthem featuring a synthy sing-along chorus that will no doubt be popular in some circles. “Letting Go” is complimented by similar tracks such as “I Don’t Wanna Care” – which sounds like it could be on one of those end of year ‘Best Of..’ dance track compilations – “Beautiful Lasers” and “Break The Chain”, all of which bring to prominence the techno influences and clubs sounds that appeared subtly on “The Cool” and “Food and Liquor”.
In a very different way Lupe also takes aim at society’s ills and even Barack Obama on the brilliant “Words I Never Said”. Skylar Grey provides the perfect trance-like vocals as Lupe displays the lyrical tenacity that originally put him on the map. This song defines what Lasers should have been, an album that conveys the evolving styles of Lupe alongside the old creativity and politically charged rhetoric that we know and love. Unfortunately the former seems to have prevailed on this album, continuing the Kanye West trend of trying to hard to be creative.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/11-All-Black-Everything-Produced-By-Wizzo-Buchanan-1.mp3″ text=”Lupe Fiasco – All Black Everything (Prod. By Wizzo Buchanan)” dl=”0″]
“All Black Everything” is undoubtedly one of the – few – highlights of the album. The drums, the sinister vocals and the concept of flipping historical events on their head is just genius. Critics have said Lupe could have made more of the concept. There’s no doubt he probably could have, but name an artists who’s never looked back on a piece of work and thought he couldn’t have done a slightly better job. The song manages to sound like a feel-good track while maintaining everything that makes any other Lupe Fiasco track great.
On a more sour note, Lasers does have some outright terrible tracks. I could do nothing but skip “State Run Radio”. It’s that bad. The lyrics could be decent but when the beat, chorus and vibe of the song is that bad, it’s hard to focus on anything but the all round terribleness of the track. The chorus is so annoying that even a children’s TV show would turn their nose up at it’s repetitive nature.
Although I’m sure hardcore fans appreciate the sacrifices and concessions Lupe had to make in order to be sure that Lasers saw the light of day, they’ll also feel cheated that Lasers didn’t bring them the artist they paid to hear. As a genreless/pop album, Lasers would receive a solid 3 stars. Under the right context and if your in the right mood, it’s a decent album to listen to. However, Lasers is a Hip Hop album and this is very much a Hip Hop blog, therefore it can’t be given more than 2.5 stars.
It’s sad to say but, the best thing about listening to this album on my Itunes playlist was that “Food and Liquour” came on straight after “Never Forget You” (the last track on Lasers), and for a split second, much to my disappointment, I almost believed it was still Lasers playing.
[easyreview title=”Word Is Bond Rating” cat1title=”Lyrics” cat1detail=”At times impressive, inspirational and thought provoking, at others, forced and generic” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Production” cat2detail=”Heavily synthesized, auto-tune production more suited to club music” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Originality” cat3detail=”Lacking the originality of previous Lupe releases, sounding like most rap albums of today” cat3rating=”2″ cat4title=”Replayability” cat4detail=”Very replayable if you want singalong anthems but who turns to Lupe for that? ” cat4rating=”2″ summary=”An average album for most others, but a disappointing album for Lupe”]