This is one of the best albums of 2022. Of course, Lupe is in my top 5 so my word might not be the least prejudiced in his favor…
Lupe Fiasco is a continually evolving rapper in a genre that tends to punish evolution. Drill Music is one of his most “musical” albums yet–with lots of live instrumentation and singing by Lupe.
And the content is brilliant–calling out his art form as superficially using the plight of African Americans. Who else is making hip hop with lyrics like this:
But they fell for the deceptiveness of the secularists complaint
The upheaval of the cathedral into the edifice of bank
That pile over there is just the evidence of angst
The failed revival of a perfectionist when his efforts have just sank
A selection of the waste that lacks direction or a base
You lose all of the plots for the affections of a race
Man does not become superior ’cause you connect him to a cape
Nor does become inferior because you connect him to a ape
Oh my God. And that’s just eight lines in an album that is stuffed with words that make you think, stop, rewind, and think again. But Lupe’s gift is to be able to come out with bars like that and hide them under catchy beats and smooth flow–so you don’t even notice you’re being outsmarted by the album you’re listening to.
I grant that some of the songs trail off into faint music or spoken word that, on repeat listens, get a little tiresome. But that’s the only flaw. And if you’re listening to this as an album–from beginning to end–these pauses are almost necessary so you have time to digest what you just heard.
Because you’re about to be fed again.