Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor     
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written by Michael Starghill Jr.    
The leak. For a rapper, it's one of the most frustrating things that can happen when releasing an album. For an artist, it is also one of the most flattering things that can occur, especially for a debut. The people couldn't wait and the album was leaked long before it was supposed to. Lupe Fiasco witnessed this contrast first hand.

Many of the hip hop faithful couldn't wait to get their hands on Food and Liquor. You know why? It's because he's a different dude. Lupe Fiasco. He wears frames on the regular…with lenses that don't block the sun rays. He writes about skateboardin' and cartoons, among other things and the wordplay mixed with the flow is next level. On top of all that, he's Muslim…for real. He might be the breath that hip hop needs blown into its dying lungs. The respirators are failing. Lupe to the rescue.

If you heard the intro from the "leaked" album you will be disappointed with this one, so let's move on. On Just Might Be OK, Lupe spits on a Just Blaze sounding track in a range-y lyrical exercise. Lupe speaks from the perspective of a mother and son longing for an absent father on He Say She Say. Daydreamin' employs the vocals of Jill Scott. While the hook sounds like a Broadway musical, Lupe gets loose on the ills of the streets and television. In an album with seemingly no filler, Hurt Me Soul emerges as one of the hottest tracks.

Food and Liquor stands to be one of the few albums of the year that garners a complete listen every time you put it in the deck. Lupe has dropped what I like to call a five tooler. The album has lyrics, flow, creativity, production and the intangible (aka X-factor). These are the very elements that keep the hip hop fiend wanting more. And when you're able to fit all five into one project something special is bound to happen.

Now I'm not saying he is hip hop's savior. It's going to take a lot more than one man to restore the feeling (there are some albums coming this fall that could do the trick). I'm just saying that he is another big step in the right direction.

Sadly, I have a strong feeling that he won't get the burn he deserves. In this hip hop universe, bling is king and Lupe ain't where it's at. But soon the masses will realize that he is, in fact, “a good addition to the rap ambiance”. He's gotten pretty good exposure with the two videos that he's put out but I'm not sure his numbers will match his talent. I predict he'll be seen through the same eyes that crowned AZ one of the best. Regardless…Touché Lupe, touché.

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