Lupe Fiasco: Tetsuo And Youth

28 Nov


Lupe Fiasco approaches hip-hop like no one else. His raps have a chain-mail sound to them, intricate and tightly linked and his subject matter is pleasantly unique. With Tetsuo and Youth we have one of his best albums, but it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed.

Lupe jumps right into the album with the “Mural”, a song dense with meaning and robust enough to last almost 9 minutes with no hook. His strengths are just undeniable, he has been an unapologetic auteur for his entire career and his devotion to the form is evident throughout. Songs like “Adoration of the Magi” and “They.Resurrect.Over.New” (featuring an excellent Ab-Soul verse) showcase his approach to lyricism. His words all slot into place perfectly, not only does every line work perfectly with the ones surrounding it but every sound plays with the ones next to it. His lyrics have always tended to the cryptic due to this, but the flow is incredible. Similarly, his viewpoint remains as fresh as ever. “Prisoner 1 & 2” goes through an entire prison, looking not only at the inmates but the guards as well and “Deliver” talks about a neighborhood that pizza men will not deliver to.

Yet, it’s hard not to feel sad that this album is not something more.”Tetsuo and Youth” just isn’t the masterpiece that Lupe has always had in him but never really been able to realize. There’s too much in there that just doesn’t do enough. The beats are mostly too generic to hold up the raps and the album doesn’t really have a stand-out track like Food and Liquor‘s “Kick, Push” or The Cool‘s “Superstar”.

This is still a good enough album to deserve a listen and I would be shocked if that does not lead to many more. After all, isn’t it a statement on the ability of the artist that I wish it was a little more?


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