TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN & CHILD
WE WANT AN END TO THE GLAMORIZATION OF NEGATIVITY IN THE MEDIA | WE WANT AN END TO STATUS SYMBOLS DICTATING OUR WORTH AS INDIVIDUALS | WE WANT A MEANINGFUL AND UNIVERSAL EDUCATION SYSTEM | WE WANT SUBSTANCE IN THE PLACE OF POPULARITY | WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE WHO WE ARE TO BE ACCEPTED BY THE CROWD | WE WANT THE INVISIBLE WALLS THAT SEPARATE BY WEALTH, RACE & CLASS TO BE TORN DOWN | WE WANT TO THINK OUR OWN THOUGHTS | WE WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT | WE WANT CLARITY & TRUTH FROM OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS OR THEY SHOULD MOVE ASIDE | WE WANT LOVE NOT LIES | WE WANT AN END TO ALL WARS FOREIGN & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | WE WANT AN END TO THE PROCESSED CULTURE OF EXPLOITATION, OVER-CONSUMPTION & WASTE | WE WANT KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING & PEACE | WE WILL NOT LOSE BECAUSE WE ARE NOT LOSERS, WE ARE LASERS | LASERS ARE THE OPPOSITE OF LOSERS | LASERS ARE SHINING BEAMS OF LIGHT THAT BURN THROUGH THE DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE | LASERS SHED LIGHT ON INJUSTICE AND INEQUALITY | LOSERS STAND BY AND LET THINGS HAPPEN | LASERS ACT AND SHAPE THEIR OWN DESTINIES | LASERS FIND MEANING AND DIRECTION IN THE MYSTERIES ALL AROUND THEM | LASERS STAND FOR LOVE AND COMPASSION | LASERS STAND FOR PEACE | LASERS STAND FOR PROGRESSION | LASERS ARE REVOLUTIONARY | LASERS ARE THE FUTURE
from the booklet inside Lupe Fiasco’s latest cd LASERS
Several years ago I picked up Lupe Fiasco’s second album The Cool and left it on repeat for months. His long awaited third studio album was finally released last Tuesday and landed in my pile of torn gift wrap this weekend. I was psyched.
There has always been a place for rap in my heart since the first time I heard Lauren Hill rap on a Fugees album (whatever happened to her?). Unfortunately, the majority of rap on mainstream radio is a channel flipper. The misogyny so embedded in the music of Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, 50 Cent & Kanye West makes it challenging to enjoy their work. The lack of those misogynistic lyrics really separates the men from the boys and puts Lupe Fiasco steps ahead.
Overall, the album feels like a deeper commentary on our social and political world than his previous work. Incredible lyrics & beats have you dancing like the catchiest songs in the clubs. I love singing along, even more so since there’s no guilt for enjoying music with such great messages. We need more artists like Lupe to spread messages of strength and positivity, calling us out on our social ills. My one & only complaint for this album is that it ends all too soon.
- “Letting Go” (ft. Sarah Green) – “Sometimes I feel like the world / Sometime I feel like, the world… is against me / And everything that I’ve done, before / I swear we used to be so pure”
- “Words I Never Said” (ft. Skylar Grey) – Backed by a dirty bass, Lupe tackles some of the political issues of not making a stand. He covers the war on terror, crap on television, and even the generalizations of Muslims and Jihad. He admits honestly that the struggle to speak out is something even he has but argues it’s the only way we’ll ever make a difference. “A rebel in your thoughts, aint gon make it halt / If you don’t become an actor you’ll never be a factor”
- “Till I Get There” – The pressures of fame and a life in the industry don’t seem like the type of topic for such a chill song. It adds another dimension to the story as he covers how he is trying to handle it by focusing on being himself and not letting outside influences change his outlook.
- “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now” (ft. MDMA) – I hope this will be one of the big songs the djs play this year. It’s a great let loose and dance song for the bars.
- “Out of My Head” (ft. Trey Songz) – Another great song for playing to the crowds. For once a lyrics that cover that route story -boy sees girl across room- where the woman is complimented without being objectified.
- “The Show Goes On” – There are parts of this where Lupe’s voice takes on a hint of Lil Wayne’s sound. The message of this is all about not allowing people to hold you back and tell you what isn’t possible. Anything can happen if we work for it. “One in the air for the people that ain’t here / Two in the air for the father that’s there / Three in the air for the kids in the ghetto / Four for the kids who don’t wanna be there / None for the n-ggas trying to hold them back / Five in the air for the teacher not scared / to tell those kids thats living in the ghetto that the n-ggas holdin back / that the World is theirs! / Yeah yeah, the World is yours, I was once that little boy / Terrified of the World / Now I’m on a World tour / I will give up everything, even start a world war / For these ghettos girls and boys im rapping round’ the World for!”
- “Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways)” (ft. MDMA) – The darkest song on the album covers the struggle of dealing with how hard life can be. The last verse stands at odds to the rest of the album as he questions whether it is worth it to stay on Earth. He speaks to the Lord asking for reasons not to commit suicide. It hits on topics not often laid bare in music. The struggle of feeling like perhaps life isn’t worth the struggle to pretend you are strong and happy when everything seems bleak. I have to wonder exactly what was going on in Lupe’s mind when he wrote that. Regardless, it paints a striking picture and, at the very least, shows there a light at the end for those struggling with the same issues. Lupe appears to not be spiraling in that darkness anymore.
- “Coming Up” (ft. MDMA) – Appealing to the equalist in me, he encourages girls to grow up strong. “And you ain’t gotta have a man if you don’t ever want / Cause I’m gonna make sure you got two of everything / That you ever want, every time, like your very own / Not to make you hard to respect / Just really really really really hard to impress / It’s a whole wide world for you to go and get your hands on”
- “State Run Radio” (ft. Matt Mahaffey) – In first listen, you might only hear the message that all the songs on the radio sound the same and it’s the equation all others must follow to get air time. However, the song actually digs into the idea that we are constantly surrounded by messages from ‘respectable’ sources that tell us not to be different, stand out, or challenge your position in life.
- “Break the Chain” (ft. Eric Turner & Sway) – The background techno beats & voice of Eric Turner are reminisce of the music playing in London club circa 2006. The mix of Lupe and Sway taking turns on the verses adds a fullness to the song which describes how difficult it is to break out of your status. Roughly speaking, where you grew up is roughly where you end up because it is all you know.
- “All Black Everything” – A dream of a history rewrite presents a pretty different world. Lupe raps about an alternative world where slaves never came to America. The result is our countries’ greatest moments being shared between all races. Without a history of racism, we have a balanced, peaceful country. The track title is misleading (if I’m understanding correctly) because everything in the fantasy is about “Complexion’s not a contest / Cause racism has no context”
- “Never Forget You” (ft. John Legend) – It’s hard to find anyone who dislikes John Legend. This track feels almost like it’s been pulled from a Legend album and Lupe’s rapped over it. Legend’s voice brings the listener back to earth making for a great closing track. Lupe brings it home with words of hope. “And let the evidence show, the future’s so bright / It’s never been more, not like tonight / We walk into the glow, right into the light / The past all around us, the time of our life”