In a strange way, this album review is completely unnecessary. Lupe Fiasco himself already penned a review of his latest album DROGAS Light and posted it to his Twitter.
As a result of his enthusiastic and socially conscious contribution to Kanye West’s Late Registration, Fiasco became one of the biggest names in hip-hop. His debut album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor took on a similar attitude, attacking hot topics from terrorism and to the importance of racial equality. Since his initial debut, Fiasco has failed to match his previous efforts. Now on his sixth record, DROGAS Light, Fiasco brings a slight trap influence to the table, which quickly becomes an unnecessary weight to the album’s experience.
After an admittedly intriguing couple of introductory paragraphs, Lupe’s own self-penned review takes a turn when he calls DROGAS Light a “mixed bag” that takes on influences from all walks of life. To him, this is a good thing, but the album’s “mixed bag” quality is its downfall, especially considering what Fiasco’s fans really want — a conscious rap album full of intense songs, not a collage of popular and mainstream sounds.
The man has created a world around his music only the most dedicated of fans can fully understand. His newest LP contains none of this necessary intensity, to the point where his music has become flat out boring. And based on his review, he knows it.
The album’s three singles tells the story of how Fiasco tries to appeal to everyone. “Pick Up the Phone” is extremely reminiscent of the pop production of LASERS-era Fiasco, which Fiasco claims DROGAS Light is supposed to be a refined version of. Yet, the song has a horrendous hook that features Sebastian Lundberg trying to hit some cringeworthy high notes he obviously can’t reach, ruining any mood Fiasco tries to set.
The record’s second single “Made in the USA” is the album’s most straightforward song and is far too simple for a Fiasco tune. All he does is list items and entities people can find in the United States, and occasionally throws in a comment about each thing. On top of this, “Made in the USA” features an absolutely ridiculous, overbearing and confusing beat that is absolutely exhausting.
The enthusiastic “Jump” is extremely bass heavy, drowning Fiasco’s lyrics in a bath of pure trap. Yet, of the three singles, this song features some of Fiasco’s best and most contemplative bars. They’re just impossible to focus on because of the booming drums and distracting bass.
Coming back to Fiasco’s self-assessment, he rambles on and talks about trying to find the balance between his different styles, comparing champagne and moonshine. He then cites pressure to please everyone, saying he “just let the pieces fall where they may.”
This pressure may exist, but considering Fiasco’s stature and experience, it’s warranted. This album of rejects doesn’t even come close to living up to expectations.
With just one listen and read of his Twitter review, it’s easy to tell how defeated Lupe Fiasco feels on DROGAS Light. It is truly a completely mixed bag, one that’s difficult to listen to and never seems to get anything to line up when Fiasco desperately needs it to. Hopefully, the rapper can come back making music that carries a similar weight to his mid-2000’s output. Otherwise, he’ll become lost in a quickly growing sea of MCs ready to take his place.
Rating: 3/10 (or 7/10 if you believe Lupe)