Grammy-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco has cleared the air on his new Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1 sharing a strikingly similar cover to Jay-Z‘s 2003 The Black Album artwork and explained its true motivation.
According to the Chicago-bred rapper, the artwork’s motivation stems from late music icon Johnny Cash.
“One of the main reasons why it’s all black was there’s a song called ‘Man in Black’ by the late, great Johnny Cash. People always ask me, because I wear black on stage and I stay in black, ‘Why do you stay in black? Why is the album cover all black?’ And I say, just listen to Johnny Cash’s ‘The Man in Black.’ The reason he wore black was because he wore it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime. There’s meaning behind it.” (FUSE)
In a recent interview, Fiasco said the artwork idea came to him as a challenge to Atlantic Records.
“The entire album is black,” Fiasco said in an interview. “There’s no pictures or words on the album. It was more to get, like, ‘Can I get the label to do that? Can I make that happen?’ Can I say, ‘Hey, I want to make that happen.’ It was like a challenge almost.” (Music Feeds TV)
Rather than go with pictures or logos, Fiasco’s new solo album is completely black.
The album cover of Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. I is entirely black (color code: 0b0708), continuing the dark minimalist motif of the album’s previous single artworks, which all have the same background color as well. The artwork also goes along with the theme of “All Black Everything”, a track from his album Lasers. The song was originally going to be featured on this album, before Fiasco decided to feature it on his third album. (Wikipedia)
The LP has generally been received positively by most music critics.
Lupe, on the other hand, conveys politics by delivering lectures that veer toward condescendion and often forget that one of the central ideas of music is that it’s supposed to serve as entertainment. It’s hard to imagine anyone under the age of 40 seriously getting into the cranky old man hook on the “F&L II” track “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” for instance, which includes the phrase “a bunch of nonsense on my TV.” Lupe too often succumbs to bad instincts with grandiosity. He serves as a cautionary tale for how a great rapper might end up being memorialized by some as the guy who rapped from the point of view of a cheeseburger, as he once did on “The Cool” track “Gotta Eat”, while being celebrated by the most annoying kind of listeners: rigid fans who dismiss detractors as unable to get the message (there’s nothing complicated about “Bitch Bad” — it’s just a bad, patronizing song). (RedEye Chicago)
Check out Lupe Fiasco’s interview below: