Album Review: Lupe Fiasco “THE COOL”
Written by Mike Dreams (Michael A. Hannah)
This is the album of the year, hands down. 5 stars in my opinion. One thing I can say is Lupe is definitely a front runner for moving hip hop to a higher dimension within the music world. One thing that was favorite to me about this composition was the multiple songs that were hip hop integrated with other genres including grunge, alt. rock and pop, in the same types of ways songs such as Beach Chair, Heard Em’ Say or The Instrumental has done. Crossover success in a sincere fashion.
1. Baba Says Cool for Thought
This was a great spoken word. Didn’t move me as much as the intro from “Food and Liquor” but it was definitely on point
Favorite Line: Check Your Ingredients before you overdose on the cool
2. Free Chilly
Lovely dedication snippet for Lupe’s partner serving the long sentence. Sarah Green and Gemstones blend very well.
Favorite Line: The entire track
3. Go Go Gadget Flow
NOW! This is what hip hop is about. Anybody still oblivious to the fact that Lupe is a sick lyricist and deliverer will be quiet when they hear this. This track has an “up” swagga on it and kind of reminds me of some of the energy tracks he’s done on mixtapes, but never on an album. The lyricism is on point and the blend of bounce and pace makes this a simply off the chain punchline hype track. The production of the tracks is mad ill might I add. Also, if you are already a fan, you can identify the “M-A-D-I-S-O-N” reference from the mixtape track “Don’t Get It Twisted” from the “Fahrenheit 1/15: Part 2: Revenge of the Nerds” Mixtape
Favorite Line: From the M-A…D-I to the S to the O-N
Po’in, to getcha open
Move like a n*gag’s supposed to get the dough
It’ll go with the flow that I’m holdin’
4. The Coolest
Now we start the story. We heard the song on the earlier leak, and this reconfirms the greatness of the track. Classic Lupe Fiasco. This sets the tone and sums of the rest of the story, and for fans of “F&L” begin to understand more of the background info from the epic track “The Cool”.
My new lady gave me a Mercedes and
A necklace with a solid gold key
Like the starter of a car
The opener of a door
Or two pounds of raw
And pray to god that the floods subside, cause you gon’ need a sub ’till he does reply. And not one of Jared’s, you think it’s all arid, and everything’s irey, a null supply
5. Superstar (feat. Matthew Santos)
The single…we have already grown to love it. Tyte to see how it fits in the story. The chorus is mad catchy and the epic feel to the track makes this song have a mass appeal to anyone. I like how it a double reference to Lupe himself and then to the story of Michael Young History. With Soundtrakk on his second time producing the first single from Lupe, this definitely lays right up there nearly equal with the classic feel and excitement “Kick Push” gave true hip hop fans. You’d be surprised how many different people the song who in any other part of life would be a different opposite.
Favorite Line: Though I need a holiday like lady who sung blue
6. Paris Tokyo
This is so old school! Sickery! And sickery is not even a word! This is like some “A Tribe Called Quest” and “Common’s “Resurrection” feel music. The production from the not widely known producer, Alex Kresovich is definitely gold. I love how these productions are from some unknown catz that Lupe is helping put on the map. Definitely coulda been a hit from the 1990s. The lyricism definitely compliments the eclectic flow style nicely. All the heads should be on this, no doubt. No hate on this track. Singing vocals ain’t bad either, for Lupe to be a rapper. This is supposed to be the next single, and it’s definitely going to get people’s attention. I’m definitely hoping to hear a remix of this track with maybe Mos Def and Q-Tip on it. That would be sick.
Favorite Line: I ready to Walk It Out like Unk in my John Lennon chucks
Wash the rain (rein) from my dear like Dasher
7. Hi-Definition (feat. Snoop Dogg and Pooh Bear)
This song is has a funky retro feel. Snoop highlights it nicely for that fact along. The singing vocals were strong and accompanied the track well. Lupe’s lyricism definitely doesn’t lack this time around with lines such as “My other hand throwing “we” without the E up”. Lupe is definitely holding it down for his peoples’, as he references them multiple times. Snoop was coo on the verse spit. A little more intelligent than some of his past stuff.
Favorite Line: I’ve been around the world like the gnome (and for you slow ones, that’s a reference to the Visa Card commercial with the pics of the garden gnome all over the world.)
8. Gold Watch
This track was the first track on the CD so far I felt was sort of mediocre, as if it should of made a mixtape or something. The flow and stuff was cool. The beat was interesting do to the sample, but it felt mad simple. But a average Lupe track usually is better some of most other rappers’ is best track, so this is definitely cool. Just another part of the story he’s telling, and I equate it with a calm time in a movie or something, like towards the middle of it. Definitely a riding track too, might I add. GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME!
Favorite Line: I am American mentally with Japanese tendencies
9. Hip Hop Saved My Life
This gives a warm feel to the album. Not the same flow at all, but it kind of reminded me of the feel I got from Lupe’s mixtape track “Glory”. Man, Lupe knows what he’s doing and it’s like in the mind of a lot of these hip hop heads out here. Everybody got the same story too, and you can see these words he’s saying happening right in real life in front of you. It’s crazy, cuz like, I bet you even know many homies who are just like this. Ill right? Yes. Of course. It’s Mr. Wasalu Jaco. This is a nice scenic hood soundtrack type song. Nikki Jean (from MINNESOTA might I add) accompanies the track very nicely. Not too much, not too little, just enough to give the track a whimsy, wholesome feel. Maybe rappers will start talking about real stuff now. Let’s get it!
Favorite Line: Something, something, something, STACK THAT CHEESE (describing stereotypical hip hop music choruses)
10. Intruder Alert
I liked this song a lot. Probably one of my favorites from the album. The piano was highly melodic and gave a nice dramatic setting for a song with a serious topic like the lyrics Lupe is rapping. A great story telling type of joint, telling multiple stories verse by verse. The content is very serious, especially the first verse which clearly is about rape, but as a different kind, through deception, false comfort level and interior motives. It’s easy to tell Mike Shinoda (Fort Minor) but together this track, cuz it kept a type of sound of most of his joints. And is it just me, or does the delivery remind you of Eminem? Sort of does….a remix with him for this joint would be dope. The sweet and syrupy vocals from Sarah Green were lovely. The male backgrounds actually sound like someone from Linkin Park. All together awesome song, sort of equivalent to “He Say She Say” on the last LP
Favorite Line: Before long, she was cool with giving hugs to him
11. Streets on Fire
The introduction to this definitely catches your attention and the whole tone is set for the track . I love it! The story telling scene is set. This is the track where I was reminded that Lupe said this album would have a dark feel. The tempo and pace of the flow is mesmerizing, as well as the chorus vocals. This goes into a category of songs like the original Kick Push II beat that was leaked last year before “F&L” dropped, the one that Jlack produced. Loving the rock feeling of the hook and music too. Just like the Hello/Good bye track, it reminds you of some early 90s Grunge or Alternative Rock. Matthew Santos shined on this joint!
Favorite Line: The entire chorus
12. Little Weapon feat. Bishop G and Nikki Jean
SAMPLING FROM PREVIOUS MIXTAPES HE’S DROPPED! HOTNESS! Once again, I had forgot that Lupe has said things would tie in to some of his mixtape tracks. This is the level of out of this world music man. No doubt. Continuing the theme of the mixtape track “Kids with Guns” from Fahrenheit 1/15: Part 3: A Rhyming Ape, the Lupe Remixes of the Gorilla’s “Demon Days”. Explaining the wiles of a child solider from it’s point of view. The percussion was very well put together here. Minnesota vocalist “Nikki Jean” put it down again. Bishop G is a spitter! FNF up baby. Lupe ain’t the only one with the swag and skills. He trades over talking about somewhat of the same topic, except from the standpoint of young videogame players of war and kill games. I already loved Fall Out Boy, and Patrick Stump just adds to this track as he steps behind the boards for this one.
Favorite Line: Just five more dogs, then we can get a soccer ball, that’s what my commander say.
13. Gotta Eat
Around this time, you figure out this whole CD is so much different from Lupe’s last album. Or maybe you had already figured that out. The story continues and it’s a chill twang. And Lupe is a foo for the comic book style reference at the end. LOL
Favorite Line: …bacon wouldn’t take him, had the pigs on the payroll
14. Dumb It Down
The lyricism is very smarted up. LOL. Not much more to say about this one. We know the track. A lot of punchline verses to basically tell you that he doesn’t dumb down lyrics, even though the hood people are saying they ain’t feeling it. The first verse seems to describe the fact that Lupe has mainstream appeal while keeping it true to the consciousness of the music (so trill and so sincere, yeah, I’m both them there) PIMP C THE WINGS ON AN UNDERGROUND KING-R.I.P PIMP C
Favorite Line: The windshield is minstrel
This has a Kurt Cobain feel to it, no doubt. Or, my bad, Nirvana. Funny too when you realize it’s Lupe is on the vocals singing. A whole different style. Sick to me, but that’s just my opinions. Definitely not the stereotypical hip hop song and some might be definitely criticized as not a hip hop songs. But hey, who cares about all that. This is genius art. The raunchy and raw feeling of the song is contributed to it by the fact that the rap vocals are muffled a bit and highly equalized, sort of a la Kanye West’s chorus on “Two Words” from College Dropout. This is basically a rock song and a great addition to the feeling of the entire spectrum of the story. A true eclectic piece that highly stands out in the CD. Of course, he will lose hood points for this, but once again, who cares about the average wannabe thug who’s favorite rapper is probably Lil Boosie or Lil Wayne. One of those “lil” name. Nothing “lil” bout this track though. Epic freshness right here. Should make it’s way to the rock charts. No doubt. This is one of the coldest joints ever. Maybe me go listen to Nirvana after listening to it.
Favorite Line: All the chorus lyrics and the delivery of it
16. The Die (feat. GemStones)
Nice dark synth middle tempo track. Continuance of the story to sum it up. GemStones style highly compliments this, with his Twista-esqe flow pattern. The “We On” trade-off style was a nice touch too, trading ideas of perspective, most likely like the consecutive thoughts of the main character at the same time, like the two things sitting on your shoulders. This is around the time you figure out this album is an instant classic that will be remembered forever! Song stops, and what do you hear in the interlude part (if you listen closely, it’s the original song “The Cool” from “F&L” on the radio). Ending was definitely a sick one. You could definitely see this as a movie and everything. Great track to sum it all up as we come back to where we started, the death and post death times of Michael Young History.
Favorite Line: You got a lot of money, and I ain’t trying to be funny, but they said where you going you ain’t even gon need it
17. Put You Up On Game
Introduction here is very weird and uncomfortable. Horror-core sounding is the first thought that popped in my mind. I already knew what the topic of it when it came in. The travel to hell of the main character. Predictable, but still eerie I might say. The track really is eye opening, basically summing up what society thinks is “Cool” leads to Satan, for it is evil. Crazy huh? Maybe so, but oh so true and a good lesson.
Favorite Line: All the lyricism here was a great picture of the ending fate of Michael Cool Young History
18. Fighters (feat. Matthew Santos)
Shaking off the strange, eerie evil feeling of the previous track, this patches up your imbalance with some conscious lyricism and knowledge directly from Lupe and Matt. Family references all through this and shows Lupe’s care for his people once more. Also, it serves as a subliminal message to hip hop to speak about something more important than the superficial ignorance.
Favorite Line: The entire chorus by Matthew Santos (WHAT YOU RAPPING ABOUT!)
19. I think Cee-Lo shoulda been featured on this, cuz it’s definitely up his lane from the type of Gnarls Barkley track he made. It’s a fun track. Not my favorite Lupe track, naw, never that. But it’s a great track. Lupe can pull off the cheesiness of the hook, but GemStones doing it just makes me chuckle. Lyricism is not as heavy, but definitely still there. Note probably the wittiest line of the song below:
Favorite Line: They want me to leave my Dame like the fella from Marcy
Streets On Fire
Hip Hop Saved My Life
Go Go Gadget Flow