Lupe Fiasco's 'Food and Liquor II'
"Food and Liquor II" album review
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 20:10
It’s here! The long awaited Lupe Fiasco album, Food and Liquor II- The Great American Rap Album Part I is here. Although it leaked a couple of days before it’s release, the anticipation for the release date still remained the same.
Track 1: Ayesha Says (Intro)
The two-minute intro prepares you for what this album is: an update on the things that have changed since the release of Food and Liquor. The spoken truths about our society and its current state leave goosebumps on your skin and echo in your head, just as Fiasco’s prayer did in the intro to his first album. The conclusion of the introduction is to ensure that the listener is aware of the fact that: “food and liquor stores STILL occupy the block.” Although it is a new day, it comes with new problems like the ones mentioned: Trayvon Martin, the Arab Spring, the trendiness of social movements and how quickly they are forgotten. (A+)
Track 2: Strange Fruition
Now, I like Lupe Fiasco. That is not to say that I will blindly review this album. With that said, let me be honest about this track. I had to listen to it a couple times before actually listening. It's one of those tracks that can be played in the background of a conversation, nothing more nothing less. After really making an effort to hear what he has to say, the track can be described as a message to the United States Government, or the U.S. System we have in place. It is definitely a deep song with emphasis on the contamination the U.S. has poured on the lives of African Americans. (B)
Track 3: ITAL (Roses)
This song is a more radio, audience friendly song. It begins with a marching band type of beat. It contains a catchy hook and chorus: “roses for the ladies, a little appreciate for the gentleman/kisses for the babies…” I consider Fiasco an artist before a rapper, which is why I can understand (and in a way excuse) the simplicity of the lyrics in the hook and chorus. One thing I will not let slide is the use of auto-tune at the end. (B+)
Track 4: Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)
This is probably one of the best songs in the album. The song educates the listener more in four minutes and fifteen seconds than a semester long college course. Please, for those of you conscious hip-hop heads: listen to it closely. Each sentence carries so much weight and there's so much more depth that one can imagine. Just to show you how great this is, and how he addresses something of extreme substance with one sentence: “First off say peace to Pine Ridge,” look it up. “Stable is when the Ba’ath had Baghdad/but corporate jets really had to have that gas bad,” confused? Look it up. “Soon as you find out what plan obsolescence is/you say no they didn’t, and I say yes they did…” Do you have any idea what this ‘plan’ is? LOOK IT UP. “Hope and pray they take Columbus Day up off the calendar…” are you wondering why? Look it up! This song is pretty much a gift from Fiasco, an educational moment that you are not going to get elsewhere, packaged with a great beat. Which brings me to the one thing that might bother some about this beat: it’s a sample. However, if you are upset that he sampled it off of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” you, my friend, must keep in mind that even that song is a sample of Tom Scott’s “Today.” Recycling beats is not new in this industry. This is what the industry is made up of – the sampling and evolution of beats, which I leave for discussion in a future article. Fiasco was able to take this song and add skilled and deep lyrics to it. For now, I will just highlight one more line from this track: “If poverty is chocolate and privilege is vanilla, then what’s the flavor of the Sunday preacher’s pedophilia?” (A+)
Track 5: Audubon Ballroom
This is yet another song with a steady beat that doesn’t overpower its message. For those of you who didn’t know, the Audubon Ballroom located in Manhattan is most popular for being site of the assassination of Malcolm X. The lyrics of the chorus pretty much say it all: “Now white people, they can’t say n*gga/so I gotta take it back/now, black people, we’re not n*ggas/God made us better than that”. I can’t even grade this song; judge this one on your own.