Long-time Lupe Fiasco fans will find something to appreciate on his sixth studio album, DROGAS Light, but it might be a poor introduction for first-time listeners. Lacking cohesion and at times sliding from lyrically dense to unnecessarily complicated, DROGAS Light won't go down as a jewel in Fiasco's catalogue, but it has too many redeeming qualities to write it off as a loss.
"Kill," featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Victoria Monet, is the album's strongest performance, a silky strip club anthem with a lively but boner-shrinking gospel switch-up towards the end. Lupe teams up with Los Angeles MC Gizzle to show off his storytelling skills on "Jump," while "Made in the U.S.A." is politically charged, shamelessly airing America's dirty laundry.
Sonically, though, the album is all over the place. While some artists are able to play with genres and sounds in a way that remains authentic and organized, Lupe's dalliances with pop, trap, rock and even dance seem forced and awkward. Songs like "It's Not Design" and "Pick Up the Phone" are less than stellar, but even relative duds like these highlight Lupe's dexterous delivery and sharp lyrical wit — a weak Lupe Fiasco song is still stronger than much of what he's up against in the genre.
DROGAS Light isn't quite memorable, but Lupe's talent shines enough to save it from total obscurity. Not a bad effort, though. (1st & 15 / Thirty Tigers)