(I'm aware this is late as shit, but I just got around to doing it)
OK, so after the internal fighting with his Atlantic label, the mental stress and pressures, and finally massive musical letdown that was L.A.S.E.R.S.
, Lupe Fiasco has come back to make amends with a return-to-form offering aptly titled Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Part 1
(seems elongated, but whatever.) What I first I first noticed is that Lupe pulls no punches on this one; he's back. Back to serve notice that he is Hip-Hop's social-political leader for the new era, and that he's still one of the most talented emcees in the game today.
: First and foremost, the production is 20 times better than LA.S.E.R.S.
. Now, the beats - for the most part - don't sound Kanye or B.o.B. leftovers anymore. With tracks produced by 1500 or Nothin' ("ITAL (Roses)", Put 'Em Up, Cold War, and Hood Now), Soundtrakk (Strange Fruition), Mr. Inkredible (Lamborghini Angels), Lupe gets freed up to go after the system the best way he knows how. And he comes out firing on all cylinders with "Strange Fruition", about America's past and our present. This also continues in a different way on ITAL (Roses), albeit with him trying to flow on a more trap-style beat. Lupe excels when he goes on fast flows, yes, and "Lamborghini Angels" is the perfect example followed by "Put 'Em Up", but it's seem to me that even as beats get slowed down, his rebellion still stays up to par on tracks like "Bitch Bad", "Heart Donor", and "Brave Heart", which goes crazy hard for a military background-like song.
A MAJOR plus in the album - NO GUEST RAPPERS. I always felt that some people are just better going totally solo on their albums. Lupe is one of them. (Nas is another, as well as Joe Budden)
: OK, for a Lupe album, there was one too many slowed-down tracks. And around "How Dare You", the furiousness of the album slacks off. I will admit that one B.o.B.-type track "Battle Scars" probably sticks out more than it should.
Lyricism - 9.25/10
Production - 8.75/10
Album Cohesiveness - 9/10
Replay Value - 8/10
Overall - 8.75/10
: I honestly like this one. Lupe bounced back quite nicely with F&L II, slept-on joints like "Form Follows Function" and "Cold War" may keep this on in rotation for a while, but this falls short of reaching that greatness of the first Food & Liquor
or The Cool
Here's my problem with everyone's criticism of this guy: why are so many people complaining about "he's too preachy", "he uses too many big words" etc etc?
First off, if you're one of the people that get irked over the fact that he uses words like "acquiescent" in his rhymes, Lupe is the least of your problems. Step your gatdamn vocabulary up
. Second, in this current Hip-Hop state where the balance is horribly skewered to nothing but "trap" rap, "swag" rap, and "party" rap, it's ALWAYS cool to see a few artists willing to step outside those boxes to bring us some ill streams of consciousness, especially when it's someone as talented as a Lupe Fiasco.
Fuck that: Lupe still excels. And this album proves it. I, for one am glad the pressure of the rap game didn't get to him and force him to early retirement like he was threatening through the making of L.A.S.E.R.S.
. Food & Liquor II
was needed in 2012, point blank.
Personal Favorite Tracks
: Lamborghini Angels, Put 'Em Up, Cold War, Hood Now