Reviewed: Lupe Fiasco – Lasers (Atlantic)
The product of almost 3 years of debate and compromises, Lasers is a largely disappointing album. Hindered from release by the label, which considered his previous album a failure and so demanded a commercially friendly album, and disregarded by Lupe himself as a poor album , most listeners will have judged this album already without having listened to it.
It was always going to be a challenge to follow the two preceding, near perfect albums, The Cool and Food and Liquor and whilst this is a strong album it doesn’t match up. The production reflects the sound of much of the commercial hip hop at the moment but this doesn’t suit Lupe and it often sounds overproduced with pointless forays into techno and soft rock. As a product of the labels desire for commercial success, most of the tracks have a guest vocalist, including the girl of the moment Skylar Grey, though they are often weak, auto tuned vocals and seem lazy.
Sway is the only featured rapper on the album and provides a rare example of a British presence on an American record, which is heartening and suggests the British scene is gaining the respect it deserves. However ‘Break the Chain’, on which he features, could well be a Tinie Tempah track. The highpoint is ‘Words That I Never Said’ which highlights the lyrical strength of Lupe, as he addresses the war on terror and perceptions of Islam, and throughout the album his flow sounds good. However often he seems detached and whilst the lyrics are good they seem a little tired. This may be a reflection of Lupe’s anger at not being allowed to leave Atlantic and then being forced into making changes to the album. At 12 tracks long, Lasers is OK but not the album it could or should have been.