April 01, 2011

Music Is... Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor

Lupe Fiasco's debut studio album on September 19, 2006 felt more as though it was released months before then. If you were anything like me during this time, there was no method I wouldn't use to get my hands on some new music. The way incomplete pieces were being leaked (and still are) on the internet, it's a surprise to me this album didn't sink before it could swim.Though my patience could have stood to be  a little stronger, I'm glad I had the opportunity to here bits and pieces and finally the entire work give or take a year later. "Food & Liquor" truly showcases this man's wherewithal as a great lyricist and songwriter. Listening again, I hear what drew me to this album in first place. However an even closer listen six years down the road and I'm more mindful of the content and story telling technique that he utilizes....Shale we?

First I love how he constantly pays homage to 1st and 15th Studios in Chicago, Illinois. You can't miss it. 'Kick Push' which is practically the anthem tells the story of a guy who falls in love with skateboarding, and follows him as he matures and finds love. One of my favorite tracks 'I Gotcha' lets you know he was birthed in "chi-town" and how things have flipped now that he's acquired a certain status. Those that would discourage him in the past he lets them know that he's doing what they said he couldn't. What seemed lame to them is what propelled him to where he is. Love it. 'Pressure' is highly underrated and to me is a highlight track that puts his skills on the front line. Then you have 'Daydreamin'. Come on, who doesn't like Jill Scott's vocals slaying it on the chorus. She's always a plus. The title of the album comes from the multiple food & liquor stores in Chicago which Lupe described as a sort of tug and war between the good (food) and liquor (evil). The cover is equally as interesting. I learned it was inspired by a skate deck he owns. As you can see he's floating in the air surrounded by various items. A little outward from his right  knee looks like a Nintendo DS. By his left hand could be some sort of organizer or cell phone. Near his upper left shoulder is the Qur'an, a highly regarded part of literature in Muslim culture.

The culmination of these things; the cover, the content, the production and the rhymes make for an impressive first impression. I guess all of us have our "Food & Liquor" struggles. When put to a nice beat, they somehow become more attractive...

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