Lupe Fiasco is the sort of artist that even if he may not be your favorite, you can’t help but admire the quality of albums he’s released since his debut in 2006. But the atmosphere around his sixth studio album DROGAS Light is different. It’s his first independent release after departing from Atlantic Records last year. Given that he has often complained about Atlantic trying to limit his creativity and holding up his music in the past, will this album introduce us to a liberated Lupe?
DROGAS Light opens with the bass heavy intro ‘Dopamine Lit’ which sets the tone for the project in the most hyped way possible for Lupe. The “Drogas, Drogas” chants on the hook will get you absolutely ready for what’s to come for the rest of the album. The second song on the album, ‘NGL’ — which stands for “n*ggas gon lose” is a clear standout, with the vocal arrangement between him and the guest Ty Dolla Sign immediately reminding you of their Tetsuo & Youth collaboration ‘Deliver’. On ‘Promise’, Lupe tries out the new Atlanta flow made popular by young acts like Migos, while promising how he “keeps it honest, real and a 100”.
‘Made In the USA’ and ‘Jump’ have been two of the tracks preceding the album’s release and they might just be two of the weaker ones on the set. On track number 6, ‘City of The Year’, Lupe handles the hook duties himself and does a pretty good job too. Of course, you can always expect some deep words from the Chicago rapper and The Clipse-referenced line “let me push my brother, we don’t need no malice” is a fine example of that. ‘High’ is listed as an interlude but it’s actually constructed like a full song which features Simon Sayz, the guy who produced my favorite song on Tetsuo & Youth, ‘Dots & Lines’. We’ve already heard and loved the latest single ‘Tranquillo’ featuring Rick Ross and Big K.R.I.T. It is without a doubt one of the strongest cuts on DROGAS Light.
Ty Dolla Sign makes a return on track #9, ‘Kill’ and proves for the 58th time why he’s one of the brightest stars in the industry today. But this time around, it’s not just the chorus – Ty Dolla also drops a verse on the silky “dolla bill killa” song. On ‘It’s Not Design’, Lupe raps circles once again over a disco-flavored beat and chorus, showcasing his diverse taste in music. The placement is perfect as well, since that is followed by the peppy single ‘Wild Child’ featuring Jake Torrey which has a similar tempo.
Lupe closes the album with ‘More Than My Heart’ which is an ode to all the loving mothers in the world. With heartfelt lyrics like “some might think their mama ain’t here, she lives, she lives, she lives” over a catchy instrumental, Lupe touches a chord with the listener.
With DROGAS Light, Lupe has shown that he’s still a force to be reckoned with in this era where microwave rap dominates our day to day life. This isn’t a shot at the Lil Yachtys and Uzi Verts of today but artists like Lupe are needed to provide that balance within the genre. The influence of the new Atlanta sound is quite evident on some songs off the album but the talented artist incorporates it in a way that it doesn’t seem forced or jumping on the bandwagon. It is hard to call DROGAS Light Lupe’s best album but it is enough to satisfy your Rap hunger and cement his place as one of the most talented MCs to bless the mic.
Lupe Fiasco’s DROGAS Light hits stores February 10th and is available for pre-order now. The full track listing can be seen here. This review is based on advance stream exclusively made available to HipHop-N-More.
UPDATE: Lupe has released the full album for stream a day early. Listen here.