Album Review: Lupe Fiasco- Drogas Light
After much build up the first of Lupe Fiasco’s promised trilogy of albums has finally dropped in the form of Drogas Light. Set to also feature the two further releases, Drogas and Skulls the trilogy promises to be a final curtain call which will see Lupe reach creative peak. With some big promises then Drogas Light serves as our first look at just how this big new project might pan out.
Lyrically the album is likely to please fans with Lupe still managing to showcase his trademark lyricism and storytelling ability. This is perhaps best demonstrated on the Gizzle backed track Jump. Which spins out a surreal science fiction yarn but is also evidenced in some of the socially conscious commentary. Made In The USA for example sees Lupe taking a tongue in cheek, but at heart serious swipe at some of America’s more notorious exports – “Klu Klux Klan from Indiana” and “That gang shit from Illinois”, all delivered with a hard hitting staccato flow.
More Than My Heart
Meanwhile NGL raises challenging questions of race and identity. Even the less hard hitting tracks prove thoughtful though such as outro More Than My Heart. Which gives thanks to the role of mothers throughout life. This is certainly an album seeing Lupe attempting to remain real and provide integrity. A theme directly attested to in Promise.
Whilst Lupe’s trademark lyricism is recognisable throughout, the production of the album proves a varied effort. There are some interesting additions and influences such as the gospel samples of KILL. The catchy funk tinged beat of It’s Not Design and the ethereal, prayer like Tranquilo.
This vibe is often added by the addition of extended vocal choruses, such as on the particularly poppy sounding Pick up the Phone. Whilst it’s tempting to find criticism in this mainstream sound, particularly for older fans. On closer inspection it does not shift the underlying integrity of the music. Pick up the Phone is a prime example of this. Which despite the more radio friendly sound actually contains deeper more serious themes. As testified to in its powerful music video which tells a more poignant love story.
Pick Up The Phone
It’s perhaps important to remember Drogas Light serves as the introduction to an entire trilogy of albums. And so this musical experimentation should be taken in that context. The album might be a lighter introduction but demonstrates much of the cerebral creativity Lupe Fiasco has been known for. Drogas Light certainly provides an intriguing and promising starter.