Lupe Fiasco The Cool

Given the ravenous pre-release consumption of Lupe Fiasco’s stellar debut release, and the constant comparisons to A Tribe Called Quest, you can’t help but sense the urgency amongst fans for this man to fill a void that’s simply not anyone’s to fill. With (extremely) loose concept set The Cool, Lupe seeks to stretch his artistry beyond the restrictive limits of the nostalgic masses, flipping rhythms and flows from across the spectrum in order to achieve his ultimate goal. On "Go Go Gadget Flow,” the lyrical luminary channels Twista’s motor mouth delivery effortlessly before slipping into his "reborn hustler versus temptation” storyline with "The Coolest.” Ominous keys, bottom-heavy beats and emotive vocal contributions characterise the majority of this set, from cuts like emotive ode "Hip Hop Saved My Life” to the UNKLE and Josh Homme-affected "Hello Goodbye,” while Lupe recites moral tales and engages in stylised wordplay like few else in the game. Though the album’s 19-cut length inevitably strikes the biggest blow to the MC’s concept plan, there are few other knocks against the man who continues to churn out top-notch productions built from a decidedly in-house mentality. (Atlantic)