A review of Drogas Light (by Lupe Fiasco)
A Review of DROGAS Light
By Lupe Fiasco
“Where do we go from here?” This is the question that takes center stage in the mind of controversially brilliant rapper Lupe Fiasco on the heels of his masterpiece 5th album Tetsuo & Youth which was also signaled the end of his industrial recording career. Looking over a career which has spanned more than a decade the Chicago born MC reflects on his highs and lows.
“I mean what is there more to prove?” he says rather ambivalently. “And more importantly to whom? When I was young I had one goal in mind. To be one of the best MC’s in the world and I crossed that threshold almost 15 years ago when Jay-Z, one of my lyrical heroes, have me his seal of approval. My initial mission was complete so to speak.”
The fastidious MC does make a pretty good case for himselfLupe has been able to navigate a very rapidly changing landscape of cultural trends and technologies in the commercial music space while still holding down a solid reputation of being one of the premier “rapper’s rappers”. His latest effort DROGAS Light is somewhat of a mixed bag. It hosts a wide range of musical themes. From trap to disco to gospel with light touches of lyrical and technical skill from the MC. But while some may think the album is supposed to express his value as a rapper Like had something more “Live” in mind.
DROGAS Light is a refinement of LASERS. Period. I think it’s pretty clear. Over my commercial career there naturally started to develop two Lupe’s. A very conceptually and lyrical dense Lupe and a “light” Lupe. Champagne versus Moonshine is probably the best analogy. And they had a rather good output of material albeit for two different audiences. And when I say audience I literally mean the audiences at live concerts which has always been the main focus. Straight up Moonshine Lupe live performances are decent at best. At worst they become too heady and un-entertaining. However Champagne Lupe performances are super lit! So it’s finding a balance between the two but sometimes it’s not about trying to balance at all but letting one just take over completely. And since I don’t have the label or personal pressures to “please everyone repeatedly” on my back I felt it’s best to distill the best works from each side separately as opposed to trying to clumsily blend them.”
In regards to constructing the album loquacious Luddite took a very “hands off” approach.
“I kinda just let the pieces fall where they may. Light is more of a curation of pre-existing material which shared similar properties. The majority of the album is from the vaults and only a few new pieces were actually put down to fill out the vision. Anything that challenged the “Light” feel of the album overall was rejected immediately. Anything that felt too jazzy or too lyrical or conceptually dense was not used so as to preserve the quality and tone of the next album DROGAS which is coming in a few months after DROGAS Light. SO it’s a method to the madness as we wind down to the next phase of my career which is no albums at all. Which I’m very excited about because I feel there is really nothing more of value or interest I can do under the album format without repeating myself or setting unrealistic expectations.”
With knocking beats and playful brushstrokes from a master “taking it easy” DROGAS Light still possesses the classic Lupe direct social commentary and imaginative storytelling which solidified his place in the game so many years ago and looking forward potentially for so many years to come.