The Score: Lupe Fiasco, "Lasers"

Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 1:40PM

Written by J. Bachelor

THE SCORE
THE SCORE 8/10
Buy Now
All Music 3/5
Chicago Tribune 2.5/5
Entertainment Weekly 9/10
Rolling Stone 4.5/5
Spin 6/10

Beaming into record stores this week is Lasers, the long-awaited third album from Chicago spitter Lupe Fiasco.

Nearly three years in the making, Lupe has publicly expressed angst over his latest release.

Anarchy. The symbol that takes the presence of the letter 'A' in the title of Lupe Fiasco's latest studio album. Instead of anarchy, this project incited a fan-crafted revolution, after the Chi-Town bred lyrical savant was wrongfully forced to sit in label purgatory because of a decision to exercise full creative control during the creation of Lasers. After the release of the over-produced single 'The Show Goes On' and the triumphant stadium sound that echoes on 'Words I Never Said', Fiasco finally delivers his third studio release, and though nowhere the caliber of his first two multi-layered records, an fun piece of music.(Young Kingz Daily)

Lupe set his sights on R&B crooners Trey Songz and John Legend to assist with his laser show.

Sing-songy choruses abound, with tracks dominated by hitmakers John Legend ("Never Forget You") and Trey Songz ("Out of My Head") and an interpolation of Modest Mouse's 2004 hit "Float On" ("The Show Goes On"). These relegate Fiasco to an afterthought. When the balance shifts, the MC delivers top-tier material: the call-to-activism "Words I Never Said," the potent daydream "All-Black Everything," the shattering "Beautiful Lasers." These tracks blend wrenching introspection and an undercurrent of anger with beautifully down-tempo music, perched somewhere between melancholy and despair.(Chicago Tribune)

A slew of producers were given the green light to mix things up behind the boards.

Not one to shy away from experimentation, Lupe features a fresh production squad (Kane Beatz, Alex da Kid, The Audibles, Needlz, King David, Miykal Snoddy) to modernize his new album with the same mainstream rap sensibilities found in artists like Drake, Kanye West, B.o.B and The Black Eyed Peas. (Street Date Radio)

Last month, Lupe discussed the fiascoes he encountered while creating the album.

Lupe said Atlantic wanted him to sign a contract that would give them 25% of anything he makes from shows or deals with other companies like Nike or whatever. (Sean's note: That's a 360 deal) He told them NO so they threatened him by not pushing any of his new songs on the radio or giving him money to make the videos (the I'm Beamin' video came out of his own pocket). Also they basically don't like his music or the way Lupe put it 'They think I'm whack'. So Atlantic sent him hooks they wanted him to do. He recorded them and sent them back but they didn't like them anymore and tried to have him change the hooks like 60 different times. In the end he had enough.

While some reviewers feel that Lasers misses its mark by aiming at both commercial and conscious targets, others feel Lupe may finally be on the right track to mainstream viability.

Fiasco's anti-everything stance - against the government, the radio industry, the notion of humor - is suitably riling. There's something bracing about the opening line from his current single, "Words I Never Said": "I really think the war on terror is a bunch of [expletive]." But there is no constancy of thought. Fiasco, who was introduced so memorably on Kanye West's joyous "Touch the Sky," has never recaptured that sense of looseness and fun. (The Washington Post)
What has happened, however, is that Lupe Fiasco has created his first 'commercially aware' album, which will arguably do more for his popularity than any of his previous releases. But for those who expected an impeccable creative record which goes against-the-grain, unfortunately another lengthy wait is in order to see whether one of the most exciting rappers to emerge will return to his ingenious roots.(Soul Culture)

To purchase Lasers, just click here.

Preview tracks from the album below:

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