Proof, if more were needed, that hip-hop has moved decisively away from the vacuous “bling” phase, comes in the form of Lupe Fiasco.
His album The Cool paints a picture of today’s US and its obsessions with superstar celebrities, and contrasts it with the lives of the poor, immigrants, drug users and petty criminals.
Musically, Lupe has moved away from tried-and-tested beats in favour of a darker, more synthesised, sound. This is particularly true of “Hello Goodbye”, in which Lupe assumes the voice of a war veteran driven mad.
“Intruder Alert” charts the lives of immigrants trying to reach the West, while “Streets On Fire” speaks about Aids through the voices of those finding excuses not to take the disease’s threat seriously.
By the end of the album, Lupe Fiasco has boiled down the world’s richest country to a series of conflicts and tensions – any one of which is just waiting to explode.
Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool
CD out now