Published on July 10th, 2011 | by Boman12l0
Review: L.A.S.E.R.S. – Lupe Fiasco
Friend of the people enemy of the state, Lupe Fiasco is no stranger to adversity. In a stalemate with his label, for a moment it looked as if his third album “Lasers” would never see the light of day. Fans would not lay down so easily. With an internet petition and a protest of 300 strong at Atlantic Music headquarters in Time Square, the label finally caved and a release date was given. It was a victory not only for Lupe but his fans around the world. Still all was not well in the world of Lupe. As the release date loomed, more and more information surfaced on whether or not Lasers was truly the victory fans fought so hard for. Leaked songs to lukewarm reviews and claims by Lupe that he “hates” his own album, it would seem to be destiny that Lasers would be Lupe’s biggest Fiasco to date.
While there are moments where Lupe is at his brightest, most of the album we are presented with simple rhymes, over blown choruses, and euro pop radio friendly beats. Gone are the Soundtrakk collaborations, the overachieving stories, and deeply embedded lyrics. In an interview with complex mag, Lupe said that his message was still there, it was only the sound that was different. I could see how one could make that argument but most of the time it sounds as if Lupe is on cruise control, never fully taking command of the music. State Run Radio has Lupe lamenting the top 40 format that is plaguing the radio. A striking contrast from four tracks earlier where Lupe is boasting his feelings for a girl as if she was a top 40 hit. As stated earlier, Soundtrakk is nowhere to be found on Lasers (Note: Shining Down produced by Soundtrakk is one of bonus tracks for those who purchase the album digitally), instead King David handles most of the production on Lasers. David’s productions are ok at best. They get the job done and there are no glancing problems but at the same time, nothings memorable about them.
This radio friendly sound does not work for Lupe; it almost feels alien at times. While there are songs like All Black Everything, where Lupe imagines a world where slavery and racism do not exist and Words I Never Said, in which Lupe vents his frustrations of the current political and social climate, they are sharing disc space with tracks like Out of My Head ft. Trey Songz, which is a celebration of catchy hooks and over synthesized productions. But the biggest disappointment about Lasers is it fails to stand up to high standard set by Lupe himself, when compared to the Lasers Manifesto, a list of demands and standards set for the album. Exploring concepts like ”We Will Not Compromise Who We Are To Be Accepted By The Crowd…We Want An End To The Processed Culture Of Exploitation, Over-Consumption & Waste… WE WILL NOT LOSE BECAUSE WE ARE NOT LOSERS, WE ARE LASERS!!!” It was a battle cry that Lupe and Fans alike could rally behind and proof that Lasers was coming. Sadly Lasers never manifested in such a way.