Lasers – Lupe Fiasco

I purchased this on the heels of the Who’s Next. It was the same $5 album deal on the Amazon Cloud Drive. I purchased them both together. Man, what kind of human being walks out of the record store with The Who and Lupe Fiasco? It’s so much easier to do this stuff in the comforts of your own home so you don’t face the ridicule of friends and snotty record shop owners. I guess we all do things on the internet that we would never do in person.

I hope nobody finds out that I bought a Nicki Minaj single. Oh wait.

Fiasco is a Chicagoan and his musical style in this album is kind of pop-like hip-hop. There’s not much spoken word and in my limited experience with the genre, this album doesn’t feel like rap music. I do, however, enjoy the sound.

But before we dig into the music, I have this theory that he may have had an influence on Rashard Mendenhall and his recent bout of tweets. It’s just a theory, but bear with me. Fiasco’s song Words I Never Said has many of the same sentiments that Mendenhall expressed. They are both local and famous, Mendenhall from near north suburbs and Fiasco from the city, so I may be on to something. Here’s a sample from the track:

I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bull$&^%
Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets
How much money does it take to really make a full clip
9/11 building 7 did they really pull it
Uhh, And a bunch of other cover ups
Your child’s future was the first to go with budget cuts
If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut
The school was garbage in the first place, that’s on the up and up
Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the uppercrust
You get it then they move you so you never keeping up enough
If you turn on TV all you see’s a bunch of “what the &*^#$”
Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such
And that ain’t Jersey Shore, homie that’s the news
And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth

It wouldn’t be unheard for them to have met. Local stars in music and sports tend to run in the same circles. Mendenhall has taken his tweets down, but they both mention that building 7 stuff. I don’t know, I’m just thinking.

I wonder what advice Pete Townshend would give to Mendenhall. He would probably tell him to listen to Won’t Get Fooled Again and study the words. Pete would tell Mendenhall that wherever your information comes from, whether from the government or the activists, it’s probably not true. So just “smile and grin” and “pick up [your football] and play.” Take care of what you can control, your family and your job, and make efforts to guard against being fooled by the “old boss or the new boss.”

The music industry and Hollywood make comments like this constantly. Obviously, Mendenhall plays on a sports team that happens to appeal to a much broader audience than hip-hop, so that raises the stakes a lot. Hollywood and the music industry just get a pass on all of this stuff because it’s art, I guess.

Okay, back to the music. I would actually group this with the B.o.B and Bruno Mars types. I don’t own any B.o.B. or Bruno Mars albums, but they played on NBA All-Star Sunday. I’m not an authority by any stretch, but the voice and instrumentation trends towards more popular stuff, although the lyrics are a little edgier. I’m clearly a hip-hop newbie, in case you can’t tell.

I’ve gone through the album a few times. It’s good. I don’t know where it’s going to stand in my music listening life. I’m a little jaded trying to figure this music stuff out. I’ve spent about $50 on music this year and it’s been a mix of hip-hop, rap, rock, pop, alt-rock, heavy metal, and classic rock. I’ll listen to pretty much anything. I like pretty much anything.