Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lupe Fiasco: From Hip-hop Hater to Mixtape King

I will be reviewing Lupe Fiasco’s Before There Were Lasers mixtape for this post.

Listen to or download the mixtape here

Background Information:
  • Birth name: Wasalu Muhammad Jaco
  • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
  • Influences: His parents, Bishop G, Jay-Z, Nas, AZ, Ghostface Killa, Mos Def, and 8 Ball & MJG
  • How long has he been doing music: Since the 8th grade
  • Type of Artist: Mainstream
  • Genre(s): Hip-hop
  • Current Label(s): 1st & 15 th Productions /Atlantic Records
  • Similar Artists: Kanye West, J. Cole, Kid Cudi, Wale, and B.O.B
  • Fun fact:  He earned his first black belt by the time he was ten.

            Wasalu Muhammad Jaco was born on Februray 16, 1982 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the one of nine children born to Shirley and Gregory Jaco. Shirley was a gourmet chef, and Gregory was an engineer, member of the Black Panther Party, African drummer, karate teacher, and owner if karate schools and Army surplus stores. Wasalu’s parents exposed him to different music styles. Yet, he disliked hip-hop because he felt as if it was too vulgar. Lupe Fiasco started rapping in the eighth grade when he heard It Was Written Nas’s  1996 album. He was given the nickname Lu by his mother, and he lengthened it to Lupe, which was the name of one of his high school friends. He got the name Fiasco from The Firm album. He liked the song Firm Fiasco as much as he liked how his new moniker Lupe Fiasco looked on a piece of paper. A few years later, at the age of nineteen, he became a member of the group Da Pak. The group released one single on the Epic label, and then the group split. This all happened before Lupe was twenty years old. L.A. Reid signed him to Arista, but after Reid was fired Lupe was forced to find a new label.  Later the artist was signed to Atlantic Records.  Lupe Fiasco has released two solo albums, which were Food and Liquor (2006) and The Cool (2007). He has released a few mixtapes before this one, but I do not believe any of them were considered to be major releases.    

Lupe Fiasco is a Mixtape King because he has only released two albums, but he still is being considered as a great rapper. When he was younger, he disliked hip-hop, so I give him props for becoming notable in a genre he used to dislike. This mixtape shows the traces of a young rapper that might be able to be considered one of the best MCs to touch a microphone.  

Favorite Line: Accept The Troubles- “A lot of n!##@$ be playing the fool, and I ain’t having that s%!& like praying in school .”

Top 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I like most to the song I like least.)
  1. Accept The Troubles- This song starts off realistically by saying there are “a lot of things in life you have to accept.” Lupe commands his respect on this song because he lets it be known that he is not a rapper for anyone to sleep on. The instrumental and the lyrics are bananas, which led this track to be nothing less than great.
  2. Flash My Watch- The instrumental reminds me of old school hip-hop. Lupe talks about a young man that is all about fortune and fame. This song is a glimpse into the lives of famous people that don’t care about anything but money and superficial aspects of life, and I’m glad Lupe Fiasco is not one of those people.
  3. This Is For My N!##@$- The instrumental is on this track is like the members of TLC because it’s crazy, sexy, and cool. Lupe Fiasco delivers excellent metaphors that caused me to think about how nice Lupe Fiasco was lyrically. He had a line where he said he was focused, and by the sounds of it; he was extremely focused when writing this track.   

Bottom 3 Tracks: (This list is ordered from the song I dislike most to the song I dislike least.)
  1. Girl Talk (Remix)- This song just doesn’t fit Lupe Fiasco in my opinion. Girl Talk was originally a TLC song, but Lupe Fiasco sped the original tempo up, and that was a mistake because the song is now not appealing to me. Maybe it would be better if the song was at its original tempo and he added a verse, but either way the original song was two times better than his remix.  
  2. Bottome Of My Heart- Lupe has good lyrics on this song, but I feel like they just don’t match with the flow of the mixtape as a whole. However, the instrumental is more captivating than his lyrics in this song. Maybe I feel this way because the instrumental matches up with the rest of the mixtape; I definitely think this song could be improved.
  3. Gangsta Up In Here- This song has great lyrics and instrumental. I don’t like the concept of being gangsta for Lupe Fiasco though even if it isn’t about his personal life; I do not find it fitting for him. I just do not in the least bit believe him as trying to portray someone that is gangsta.

I recommend the Before There Were Lasers mixtape to people that like old school hip-hop because Lupe Fiasco has the stylings of an older MC when he picks up a mic. Lupe Fiasco takes me back to a time before there were lasers with his lyrics. He goes back to the basics of hip-hop, which most people don’t do nowadays.  
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Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how you can go from hating something to loving it. Not just loving it either, but becoming majorly involved in it as well.

Rcollier029 said...

Yes, it is. I think that shows a person's personal growth when they can get over their personal beliefs and make something much better by there presence. For instance, I wasn't too fond of Lupe before I heard this mixtape, but I heard this and was like he's not just a rapper he is a true MC.

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