After sharing two singles “AUTOBOTO” and “DRILL MUSIC IN ZION”, veteran Chi-town lyricist  Lupe Fiasco returns with his awaited new album, DRILL MUSIC IN ZION. The project is made up of 10 tracks produced by his in-house producer Soundtrakk who weaves jazz-infused soundscapes for Lupe to blend profound lyrics that dwell on street music from his hometown and how it serves as a form of escapism.

The project starts with “THE LION’S DEEN” featuring poet/Lupe’s sister Ayesha Jaco who helps set the tone with her commanding vocals and heartfelt lyrics on modern lifestyles as it affects black and brown people. The first song is the somber “GHOTI” which is less than 2 minutes in length. Here, Lupe talks about a myriad of things from nihilism, corporations pimping the masses to human idiosyncrasies. This is followed by the previously released single AUTOBOTO,” a mischievous, playful, and deceptively dense single that finds Lupe weaving his precise barbs around Soundtrakk’s arpeggiating guitars and a soothing airy melodic performance by singer Nayirah closes it out. “PRECIOUS THINGS” is a soulful, reflective tune featuring singer Nayirah who sets the tone with her angelic melodic runs while Lupe details how the things and people he loved and revered lost their appeal and in a tragic turn of events, he has to take a stand against these things. In “KIOSK”, he embodies the life of a kiosk owner trying to sell jewelry to anyone interested. It’s quite an engaging piece that goes deeper than just selling ice to wanna-be rappers and gangsters as he even touches on the domino effect of having these expensive things around. Lupe also takes listeners deep into the action with lines like

“The diamond sometimes are suedes while putting ’em to the blade
I have hesitations
There, I’ve put it all on the table, I have my reservations
Besides, we’ll find something else useless to put our faith in
You won’t finish this here, we’ll pick up after meditation”

“MS. MURAL” starts off the second half of the album and it’s a continuation of his “MURAL” series as the title suggests, it’s Lupe crafting verbal pictures using painting references and such over Soundtrakk’s jazzy soundscape. This is followed by the jazz-hop aesthetics of “NAOMI” which juxtaposes religious elements with modern-day parameters. It’s both reflective and thought-provoking and in the usual Lupe manner, he ends it with a clever Malcolm X rhyme scheme that pulls from Star Wars, Microsoft’s popular home console among other subtle things.

The title track and “SEATTLE” are next in line. The former is a  graphic detail of the numerous forms of escapism, personal greed, and the insatiable need for profit while the latter is Lupe’s ode to the streets where he has to move in mysterious ways to avoid a host of evils that lie in wait for his soul. He is once again joined by singer Nayirah who adds a soothing melodic touch to the track with her airy vocals.

The project closes with “ON FAUX NEM,” Lupe starts off with an observation “Rappers die too much, that’s it, that’s the verse” and continues with a detailed narrative of gang-related violence in inner cities, the hypocritical view of it all as he admits that he is not essentially a saint.

Buy/Stream DRILL MUSIC IN ZION on all DSPs here.

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