Not a chance.
Lupe’s first album, “Food & Liquor” (2006), launched him into the music scene five long years ago with the hit single “Kick, Push,” which garnered great notoriety with its unique new sound.
Lupe brought something new and special to the lackluster hip-hop music that seemed to be just a bit too loud and lacked meaning. He brought deep thoughts and even deeper metaphors to the table and made his listeners feel and think. Such songs have unfortunately become a rarity in modern-day pop culture.
One year later Lupe released his even more successful album “The Cool (2007),” with the smash hit “Superstar” featuring Matthew Santos. Few ears escaped that Billboard Top 10 hit, which sold an impressive 500,000 copies. Lupe’s fan base grew to new heights after that album and he grabbed mainstream attention. His success was at an all-time high and you could say he was at the top of his game.
So this begs the question: Why so long to release the next album?
The answer lies in a long-winded battle between the artist and his label, Atlantic Records, as well as some personal issues that sidelined these four years. Luckily for us, Lupe’s fans did not take a break.
In fact, a 32,000-person signed petition was delivered to the record label to release the album. This, in addition to an event aptly named “Fiasco Friday” in which fans actually went to Atlantic offices in New York, led to the eventual release of LASERS.
Lupe admittedly took this project in a more “pop” direction, but to him this word takes on a unique meaning—pop in the sense of an uprising of the people. I find the sound to be more high-energy and it carries an electrifying sound.
The 12-track album has a completely different, yet magical feel, more so than his last two albums, which were great albums in their respect. Lupe has taken a step into a more electrifying and upbeat tempo that shows only small hints of the calm, collected Lupe of the past decade. His aim is to draw in a larger audience that will stay and listen to his very philosophical lyrics.
On LASERS, the singer blesses us with some amazing production collaborations by The Neptunes and The Audibles that can be described as nothing short of amazing. In addition, Lupe added some great vocalist collaborations that exceeded my expectations. Trey Songz, John Legend and Skylar Grey leave their unique handprints on their respective songs. These guest appearances truly give new meaning to Lupe’s one-of-a-kind music style—a sort of retro-alternative hip-hop that has never sounded so pure and musical.
The song, “Coming Up,” featuring the indie rock group, MDMA, embodies that notion perfectly. The syncopation is skillfully and carefully placed and gives the song a smooth, head-bobbing feel. At the same time, the amazing vocal accompaniment captures a truly beautiful melody.
Skip right on to the next track and the listener is immersed in a heavily rock-influenced track that lifts the entire mood. The track, “State Run Radio,” featuring Matt Mahaffey, showcases the creativity and eclectic essence the album emits. It is so different yet familiar. It is something you’ve never heard before but is so catchy right away.
We will have to wait for the final verdict, but I am already sold. It is a new feel, a new Lupe that somehow works and seamlessly connects his body of musical genius. I would give LASERS a solid 9 of 10.