Lupe Fiasco Lasers

Lupe FiascoLasers
After three years of delays and struggles to maintain his artistic vision, Lupe Fiasco drops Lasers with a contractually obligated shrug. The Chicago, IL MC's third effort is 2011 pop rap with all the fixings: wall-to-wall synths, Auto-Tuned hooks and electro- and house-influenced production. The lament for corrupted artistry, "Letting Go," coexists with the Pitbull-Lite house of "I Don't Wanna Care Right Now" and the lazy Modest Mouse flip of single "The Show Goes On." The Trey Songz-backed pap of "Outta My Head" is, frankly, beneath Lupe and the soporific "State Run Radio" drapes its half-hearted media critique in glossy rap rock. Lupe has comfortably recorded pop records before (go back to "Superstar"), but he stumbles through Lasers, sounding like his A&R rep held an AR to his head. Lasers may confuse long-time fans, but it still shows flashes of occasional brilliance. "Words I Never Said" matches Lupe's revolutionary rhetoric with a brainpan-penetrating chorus without sounding forced. "All Black Everything" rewrites black history over soaring strings, imagining Bill O'Reilly reading the Qu'ran and Fred Astaire doing the first backspin. Aided by a stately John Legend chorus, Lupe sincerely reminisces about his Chitown upbringing and his late father on "Never Forget You." Lasers' highlights promise better things for Lupe Fiasco, but he needs to shake the suits and label first. (Atlantic)