By Nicholas McGregor
Rappers of the 21st century have been called many things- arrogant, obtuse, unsubtle and insolent. As the grim cloud cover engulfs the world of hip-hop, there is still one shining light.
Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool is a life enriching album touching on the greatest aspects of the modern day world and especially in rap. In this concept album Lupe tackles the harsh realities of society with pristine clear-cut lyrics that manifest themselves into your soul, rendering you helpless to the smooth, soulful sounding of this musical genius.
“The Coolest” is the sequel to Lupe’s first brain child “The Cool” from his first album . This track tells the story of Lupe Fiasco’s character Michael Young History (which is a link to his popular lyric “My cool young history that is the common theme to many of his songs.) It inter-breeds a masterful church choir background with witty and controversial lyrics that would leave anyone questioning society.
“Dumb it down” is a testament to the Chicago native’s credibility as he refuses to dilute his message in-order to improve sales even though everyone seems to try and convince him otherwise.
“Hello/Goodbye” is another song that puts Lupe above the rest as it includes a very distinct rock n roll sound, cloaked by his own incredibly potent rhymes.
The whole album is based around his characters The Streets, The Game and The Cool which all represent issues and problems in life. The Streets is a seductive temptress that lures young unsuspecting men away from a productive life and into the way of the streets. The Game is the spouse of the Streets and together they work tirelessly at keeping their victims on the streets. The Cool can be considered the most vile of all. He is the spirit of Michael’s demons and transgressions and will haunt him till his conscience is clear. These characters are prominent throughout his lyrics and provide a mystical yet defining edge to his message.
Every track on this album sends a new and different rush down my spine, every song completely unique from the last. While making The Cool Lupe Fiasco’s father passed away and this deeply depressing circumstance has seemed to spill into his work and in the best way possible as he provides a dark, twisted masterpiece, that envelopes all other rappers of our time in his shadow.