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Lupe Fiasco The Cool Review

January 21, 2008

Review by Esmeralda McKie

B000WPNL8Q The Cool
Buy New: $9.99

With many claiming hip-hop has lost its credibility and layers, Lupe Fiasco attempts to ease such remarks with his sophomore album The Cool. The Chicago native returns after softly exploding onto the music scene with his debut album Food & Liquor, which was welcomed with moderately successful sales on the music charts. Lupe’s critically-adored debut elevated his status in hip-hop, with his clever yet conflicted rhymes and audacious, jazzy sounds; many saw the newcomer as hip-hop’s latest hope.

The Cool is an aggressive album credited as a concept album although the idea is only extended on a few tracks. The character The Cool reappears after making an appearance on Food & Liquor,, a character Lupe described on a recent appearance on BET’s 106th and Park as someone abandoned looking for guidance. On the cd, The Cool turns to The Game and The Streets for direction, a surprisingly simple concept laced with provoking contention.

The lead single ‘‘Superstar’’ continues to carry the upbeat, inspiring tone present on his last album in the first single “Kick, Push”. However, Lupe steps outside of his signature sound with tracks such as “Put You on Game” and “Streets on Fire”, with an angry tone coming through the lyrics about street life. The departure is rather drastic and causes the listener to take pause to make sure this is the same artist that just delivered the fluid “Superstar” on the very same CD.

There are moments of greatness on the CD guided by offbeat notes mixed in with blended musical sounds that put life into the album. “Gold Watch” and the Snoop Dogg quest track “Hi-Definition” are highlights, showcasing styles of g-funk, new wave and a little arena rock. Lupe claims he wants to retire after releasing one more album but if The Cool is any indication of the growing talent this artist could bring to the industry than many music fans would strongly disagree.

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