.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/7cb7e23dcba17895e2edfa96fd609059a04affee.jpg Lasers

Lupe Fiasco

Lasers

1st & 15th/Atlantic
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
15
March 8, 2011

"Me and my different drummer/He play the timpanis," Lupe Fiasco raps on his third disc. Dude's not kidding. Few rappers this side of his fellow Chicagoan Kanye West bring left-field bombast like the man born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco. His last disc, 2007's The Cool, was a 70-minute quasi-concept album about the search for sociopolitical realness in a fallen gangsta world that still managed to give him a hit (the anti-stardom "Superstar"). The long-awaited follow-up, Lasers, is shorter, brighter and — most admirably — more optimistic. It places Lupe in a tradition that runs from Marley to M.I.A.: the soul rebel who refuses to believe righteous struggle has to be a grind. "Just listening to 'Pac ain't gonna make it stop," he raps. "The Show Goes On" cleverly reworks the chorus from Modest Mouse's "Float On" for an inspirational missive to global ghetto kids, and John Legend adds R&B honey to the otherwise somber "Never Forget You." Lupe's beats run from Nineties buoyancy to driving rap rock, but his most exciting tracks are operatic brawlers that give his athletic, whiplash flow and rich imagination room to move. "All Black Everything" isn't just utopian, it's hilarious too, visualizing a world where MLK is still with us, Bill O'Reilly reads from the Koran, "Somalia's a great place to relax in. . . . [And] the Rat Pack was a cool group of black men." A guy can dream.

Listen to "The Show Goes On":

Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos

15
prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Vicious”

    Lou Reed | 1972

    Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com