Here is our Lupe Fiasco album review of ”Food & Liquor Pt. II The Great American Rap Album Pt. I”. Lupe Fiasco’s lyrical abilities are unquestioned. The man has been one of the best rappers of this generation, and in the long run, he will likely be criminally forgotten, with more popular radio artists being mentioned before him.  Lupe just released his fourth studio album: Food & Liquor Part II: The Great American Rap Album Part 1, and it’s one that I have mixed feeling about. The first time I listened to it, I wasn’t a huge fan. The issue with alot of Lupe songs is his inability to make catchy hooks and beats to his songs, that don’t come close to matching his incredible lyrical abilities, and that was ever so clear on this album for me the first time. The second time, I still wasn’t a huge fan, and I was ready to write a negative review. But I had a long drive to work ahead of me, and so I thought I’d give it one more listen. When I did, I was surprised at how much I liked it. Ever since then, the more I listen to it, the more I love it. This puts me in a tough position as an impartial critic, but I will do my best to make sense of my thoughts on the album.

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As most Lupe albums do, he starts it off with a spoken word piece called “Ayesha Says”, which is a nice start to the album.  There’s a great line in it about Travon Martin(RIP).  Then, he kicks off the album with “Strange Fruition”. I like this song, but I’m a bigger fan of “ITAL (Roses)”.  It’s arguably the best combination of lyrics and hooks on the album, as I actually really like this hook. The whole song is great, but the first lines are my favorite. “Hey shawty, ain’t no future in no gang-bang. And ain’t no manhood in no bang-bang. Ain’t no honor cleanin’ interstates inside a chain-gang. Know some rap niggas put that shit inside your mainframe.”

“Around My Way” is the next track, and it was the first song to be released to the public.  It’s a great song, largely do to the awesome sample: Pete Rock’s: T.R.O.Y. The last verse is arguably the best on the whole album, but I won’t put the whole thing in here. Just do yourself a favor and listen to it.

Next we have one of my favorite songs off the whole album “Audubon Ballroom”. The hook is whatever, but I love love love the piano riff in the beginning that is overlayed throughout the song.  Also, this: “But it’s so Titanic to be iced out”. Awesome.

“Bitch Bad” is the next song, and it’s one of Lupe’s finest works. I can’t even do the song justice by describing it, but I will do my best. The entire song describes how the word Bitch has been turned on it’s head, and many people consider it a good thing, even though it’s bad. What results is confusion amongst the youth, leading to all kinds of problems, as he outlines in the song. I told you I couldn’t do it justice, so just listen to it when you get the chance.

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‘Lamborghini Angels” is the epitome of my main complaint of the album, which is great lyrics with horrible hooks. I mean the hook on this song is just terrible. However, the lyrics are amazing. Lupe goes extra hard on the last verse, where he smashes Catholic Priests for the huge child rape controversy several years ago.

“Put Em Up” is another one of my favorite songs off the album, again because of the rare good hook.  It’s also one of the faster songs on an album that for the most part is slowed down, which is more his comfort zone. I can pick and choose what lyrics from this song to post, but I’ll go with these: “Think outside the box like Larry Merchant, Don King. A glacier in Jamaica or a penguin out in Palm Springs. Yeah, keep em in the air like a swan wing, And Im’a keep it magic as a Harry Potter wand swing.”

I will skip over “Heart Doner” and “How Dare You”. They are fine songs, but not memorable for anything, so I will move on to “Battle Scars”.  This is probably the worst hook on the album for me. It’s just a guy screaming and it doesn’t flow well with the song. I do like Lupe’s bit about being at war with love, but in the end, this is one of my least favorite songs on the album.

Following up that, we have my favorite song off the album, “Brave Heart”. In the beginning of the song, Lupe says, “I feel good about this one right here.” That’s usually a good sign. The chorus is simple but effective, “Courage under fire gave me a brave heart.” His lyrics are unmatched on this song, and this is my favorite part. “I dropped that food and liquor to put you up on my stove. They shoplifted and stole That just let me know they know. That was Lupe #1 now this version #4. And I still feel like a virgin me versus the globe.
From the surface to the cove I took on the biggest wave And I surfed it to the shore with no pomade in my fro.” The whole song is great.

“Form Follow Function” comes next, and I will skip the next song because “Unforgivable Youth” is the one after that, and both these fall in the same category of forgettable. I’m not saying they are bad songs, but on a 16 song album, they can’t all be hits. I’m willing to let these two slide, especially because the final two songs are both fantastic.

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“Cold War” is the song that prompted a good friend of mine to post “Hip Hop Lives” on facebook.  I don’t know if I have the same level of appreciation for this song as he does, but it’s still a great song. Another rare case of a solid hook, combined with some amazing lyrics on Lupe’s part.

And the final song, “Hood Now”, is the perfect way to end the album.  This song has a hook, but it only pops up a couple times. Most the time, it is simply Lupe spitting a few lines, then saying, “It’s hood now. It’s hood now. It’s hood now. It’s hood now.” The song has amazing flow, and a great story.  This is how he ends the album: They gave us scraps, some of it old We cooked it up and called it “soul. It’s good now It’s good now You like that? It’s hood now And you know me, I don’t vote But the White House, you already know. It’s hood now”. Classic.

This album takes a while to digest, but it’s well worth the time. Lyrically, Lupe is at his best, which is saying alot. His hooks, as usual, leave something to be desired, but as that same friend told me: “Eff hooks. Lyrics all day.” Gotta agree on that. I give Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor Part II The Great American Rap Album Pt. I 4 out of 5 stars.

What did you think of the album? Is it Lupe’s best work, or did you prefer his older stuff? Let us know in the comments.

Can’t wait to buy the album? Buy it here!