out of egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and i shake the dirt from my sandals as i run

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Top 10 Albums of 06: #4

Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor

"I got this philosophy, right. I think the world, and everything in it, is made up of two things. You got your good and your bad. You got your food and your liquor."

How's that for an album invocation?

Here's the basic narrative with Lupe as I understand it: local Chicago MC gets noticed, lands a spot on a Kanye West track, promptly blows up. The hype machine (not to mention the Hype Machine) works its magic and without a single legally released Lupe Fiasco track, Lupe Fiasco becomes the biggest rapper in the universe. Or at least, becomes endowed with a career-crushing level of expectation.

You know how these stories end. There's no reason for me to tell it from the beginning like that if he's not going to win in the end, and ultimately deliver a record that, though it gets leaked and delayed and remixed and leaked and so on for half a year, succeeds in being the lone rap album I sneak into my top ten.

Like I've said before, the album shows cracks, and there are the little things that still bother me about Lupe: the fondness for rock that seeps over into unfortunate affiliations with people like Mike Shinoda, and more importantly his unwillingness to be just a little more talkative about his religion. Long after I'd already totally fallen for this album, I heard his Muslim re-work of "Jesus Walks" off one of his mixtapes, and it's a masterpiece of a single that just makes you wish the album had more of its juice (Islam juice). I do like the font on the album cover, but this does not count.

Still, lamenting what the album doesn't have is a dangerous game, one that a lot of critics do play, but I simply ain't trying to hear that. Lupe's a relative beginner, but once again, the only standard I can judge this by is that it's just compulsively listenable. I can't wait for his Late Registration.

FNF up.

Download: Real

buy it from amazon


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