Lupe’s a genius storyteller, guys. I mean, we all knew that. But I’m still amazed at not one, but two tracks across Drogas Waves that reimagine the lives of newborns taken too soon and too tragically.
Speaking of Genius, after the first couple of listens on your own, you’ll want to follow along, song-by-song and pick up references like this one (via our own @hetalbot). Lupe continues to reference Canada in Alan’s reimagined story because his family wanted asylum in Canada. And the more references like that you catch, the more we see that next-level where only Lupe resides.
“Jonylah Forever”, after Jonylah Watkins, a 6-month old baby tragically succumbing to crossfire gunshots, was originally released shortly after her death in 2013.
The one reference I didn’t catch until five years later was the Jimmy Neutron/neutron term for not being gang affiliated in Chicago.
Sadly, “Jonylah” has even more of a somber tone and now I have the feels all over again. There’s much more I want to write about the album as I, still a week later, want to continue to digest. Until then, sit back, and listen to these back to back (and out of order). Maybe the connection will be even clearer…
Just popped it in the iTunes, and uploaded it to Soundcloud for ya’ll! Back with more thoughts soon (below.) Enjoy!
EDIT: 1st listen thoughts… Whoo, nothin’ but bars. With everything Lupe, you gotta digest this as one entire piece multiple times but if you’re lookin’ for individual tracks, “Valleys”, “Pyramid”, and “Schemes” were the 3 that especially jumped out to me. Lu saved the best for last too. “Schemes” had so much to rewind with some ever-changing production across the 5+ minutes (outro excluded). Looks like we all have some new weekend tunes, huh?!
If you’re wondering, Lupe did splice in the Metal Gear Solid V trailer into the intro. What a way to start it.
Gotta love Hannibal Buress keepin’ it Chicago for his season finale for Why? with Hannibal Buress new show on Comedy Central. His musical guest is one of his favorite rappers: Lupe Fiasco, who brought on Nikki Jean to perform “Prisoner 1 & 2” off Tetsuo & Youth.
This is the first time I’ve seen it live and Lupe, per usual, spits each line precisely that I just imagine the casual viewer or studio audience member being engrossed by, word for word. That’s why it’s always cool what Lupe chooses to perform on the national stage, let alone in general.
Also, of course, it’s great to see Nikki Jean beside him, singing the quick lines on the hook to perfection too. In general, it’s just great to see the duo continuing to make music and perform live and I have a feeling that won’t stop into the future. Especially on the heels of Lupe’s sweet birthday wishes to Nikki this week:
So that open rap battle challenge from yasiin Bey yesterday… that was quickly accepted by Lupe Fiasco and got rap fans clammoring for a next-level back and forth in the wake of Meek Mill and Drake… that open rap battle challenge… was meant to be private talk. Kinda like locker room talk off the record.
“I stand behind the statement,” yasiin Bey tells Ferrari Sheppard in a new interview, “but, at the same time, I’m not trying to arrange some sort of exhibition. I see certain people, I have an opinion about them. It’s a private opinion made public, I will say again, without my knowledge or permission or consent. So, that’s a violation.”
According to Bey himself, those initially private remarks were simply meant to make a valid point about the current Gladiator atmosphere of the public’s self-fueled desires for continually escalating feuds. “We are the only culture that this atmosphere has been constructed around,” says Bey. “Some of that is self-perpetuated, but all of it is not self-inflicted. It’s threatening to turn the whole thing, or a fair portion of the thing, into some gladiator tournament.”
This basically means yasiin Bey vs. Lupe Fiasco won’t happen. And no matter if this is a convoulted way for Mos to backpedal, it’s just unfortunate as a fan. Would love to see this as a skillful competition/art form. I’ll give credit to Bey’s comments in the last paragraph though, that is something to think about for our hip hop culture.