“The Album With Nothing On The Cover”
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1
A year and a half after the release of Lasers, Lupe fires back with his new super-society-conscious album. F&L 2 kicks off with a big bang in “Strange Fruition”, where Lupe starts off ranting “Now I can’t pledge allegiance to your flag, cause I can’t find no reconciliation with your past, when there was nothing equal for my people in your math, you forced us in the ghetto and then you took our dads.” This foreshadows the rest of the album as being a back-and-forth societal-personal album.
As the album progresses, Lupe provides his singles “Around My Way”, “Bitch Bad”, and “Lamborghini Angels”, where he touches on everything from his frustration for the American way, to the misusage and misinterpretation of the word ‘bitch’, to child molestation. In the heart of the album, Lupe throws in some forgettable duds with “Put Em Up”, “Heart Donor” and “How Dare You”. F&L 2 regains its energy with the Guy Sebastian-assisted “Battle Scars”, taking a more personal, relationship-inspired cut. This is where the album’s relatable level reaches its peak.
Lupe finishes strong with his last five tracks. “Brave Heart” serves as the ultimate beat-your-chest anthem, where he spews “Took the wood from the slave ships and furnished my abode, that boat is now my bed, desk, dressers and my drawers.” Once again, Lupe turns back toward a more historical, society-driven focus. “Form Follows Function” serves as the intellectual’s favorite lyrical brain-buster. “Cold War” serves as the most listenable, easiest-to-ride-to track on the album. He spits “In the studio writing these words, one after the other, in memorial of my brother, as you listen to the album with nothing on the cover.” “Unforgivable Youth” and “Hood Now” conclude the album, discussing the struggle and progress relevant to today’s urban world.
Returning to lyrical prowess and poetic intelligence, Lupe shows signs of the hip-hop genius his fans know him to be. Aside from the overly political undertone, redundant sounding beat selection and frequent contradictions, F&L 2 stands strong in the current rap climate. It lacks the focal point of Food & Liquor I, but manages to capture a similar essence. His flow is better than ever, but his head seems to be a bit all over the place. The presence is there, but the timelessness is not. Overall, as a solid and much-needed addition to Lupe’s catalogue, Food & Liquor II delivers, but maybe not to the extent the fans had hoped for.
RRR Score: 7.5/10
October 12, 2012