"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Sunday, November 29, 2009

22 Minutes With Lupe Fiasco

"Lupe Fiasco's "Tiny Toons" game is on point."

Brevity is a virtue amongst rap artists that is often far too overlooked. Somewhere along the great existential time line of human existence, rappers began assuming that the more product they could shove onto the 80 minute flux capacity of the compact disc, the more likely their record would be plucked off the crowded shelves of a record store and inserted into the warm plastic confines of a stereo disc changer. Perhaps, this was wise thought when albums were selling like they were lightly sprinkled with heroin flakes but it makes little sense in an environment when the world's biggest beef enthusiast can only sell 160,000 copies of his new record. When nobody is buying your record anyway, it makes little sense to water down the content of your record with filler tracks especially considering when most music is consumed in the solitary schizophrenia of an iPod, an artist can ill afford to waste their fan's potential time listening to a slew of ill-conceived crossover tracks. It only takes a quick flick of the wrist to switch to something better.

Lupe Fiasco must have taken that lesson because his excellent new mixtape, "Enemy Of The State: A Love Story", is an exercise in the power of limited quantity correlating with infinite quality. "Enemy Of The State" clocks in at a brisk 22:09 minutes and there is not a second wasted where Lupe is not furiously bringing glorious swaths of funeral pyre. It's been almost two years since "The Cool" established his bonafides as the premier rapper of his generation and if you had forgotten how great a rapper Lupe is, it's not going to take you very long to remember.

Lupe's primary strength is the complex density in the metaphors of his rhymes. He's the type of rapper whose lyrics are just as enjoyable being read in the liners notes as they are to listen to. You discover more depths the more you listen to him so it's extremely rewarding that "Enemy Of The State" is so brief. It allows for easily more digestible, multiple listens that allows you to explore the subtleties of his craft. His work on "The National Anthem" is a lyrical junkie's wet dream. Initially, the mixtape was released "cassette-style" (one continuously long mp3) before bootleg junkies spliced it up but I find the "cassette-style" of the tape to be incredibly fitting. Much like an old Maxell magnetic, one quickly finds oneself furiously spinning the iPod wheel in reverse in order to listen to the same lyric over and over again. Only in the digital age, you don't have to worry about popping the magnetic tape in your mp3 player. Who says technology ruins everything?

Download: Lupe Fiasco - Enemy Of The State: A Love Story [Mixtape] (Via Nah Right)


JK said...

And the thing is when your mixtape is short but so good, the being short part doesn't really matter as much. I wish all rappers would focus on quality. Jay Rock, I'm looking at you.

Nova Blade said...

lol@ the Jay Rock on notice.

This is a great effort by Lupe. Nice to know he's focusing on putting out short but sweet mixtapes instead of 70-hour yawnfests.

Trey Stone said...

you people like activists appealing to the psyche. man Malone'll get it crackin' I just do it like Nike

AKA, Lupe's not a bad rapper, he's just kinda a pussy who raps over easy-listening/lame "experimental" beats. a common problem with these conscious rappers. i should probably listen to this mixtape before i talk shit about it specifically

how 'bout the new Clipse maan? some fire, few bad songs/Pharrell beats but it's pretty legit

AZ said...

On point as usual Doc. Be interesting to see how things play out as far as "the game" is concerned now that things have come back down to earth a bit. BTW thanks for always writing what needs to be said and not making it bite sized just to fit "norm" of the medium. Feel free to join the convo at http://opusvenatus.blogspot.com/ and keep up the work good Doc.

Jordan said...

Good tape mostly, weird how poorly he handles the 'so ghetto' beat tho, sounds like he's always struggling to keep up w/ the beat, the opposite of Jay's don't-give-a-fuck mastery of that era.