Chi-town Lyricist Extraordinary The Lupe Fiasco delighted us with two solid singles “AUTOBOTO” and “DRILL MUSIC IN ZION”, some time ago and now he returns with his long-awaited eighth studio album SION DRILLING MUSIC. The title is a juxtaposition of the violent hip-hop subgenre with the biblical promised land, alluding to the concept of art derived from pain but on another note, Lupe thinks deeply and guesses if the end result is worth it at all. ?
Lupe crafted the new album over a short period of time, delving into a folder of beats sent in by Soundtrack and emerge with a fully realized album in just three days, which is very remarkable for a project as dense as this one.
The project is a return to form as he brings back his sister Aisha Jacoa poet who featured on the intros of his debut Food and alcohol and The freshness respectively. She single-handedly sets the tone on “THE LION’S DEEN” with a vivid account of modern life versus changing lifestyle. She reviews some historical events affecting black people as well and ends the performance with these lines: “Band together to reverse time and unite the seeds of the oppressed/Stand together and work righteously to be blessed/For the generations to come/Drill down, Zion is within you”, containing hope in the midst of darkness.
The first track is the dark “GHOTI” which lasts less than 2 minutes. Here, Lupe talks about a myriad of things ranging from nihilism and corporate pimping of the masses to human idiosyncrasies. It is followed by the single “AUTOBOTO”, a mischievous, playful and deceptively dense single that finds Lupe weaving her precise barbs around Soundtrakk’s arpeggiated guitars and a soothing aerial melodic performance from the singer. Nayira close it.
“PRECIOUS THINGS” is a moving and thoughtful track featuring singer Nayirah setting the tone with her angelic melodies as Lupe details how the things and people he loved and revered lost their appeal and in a tragic twist of events, he must take a stand against these things. In “KIOSK,” he raps from the perspective of a kiosk owner selling jewelry to anyone interested. It’s quite an engaging piece that goes deeper than just selling ice cream to budding rappers and gangsters, as it even evokes the domino effect of having those expensive things around.
From getting robbed, being mocked by blogs and naysayers, to luring the Feds who might want to slap you a case, Lupe takes listeners deep into the action with lines like “Diamonds are sometimes suedes while putting them to the blade
I hesitate/There, I put everything on the tableI have my reservations/Plus we’ll find something else useless to put our faith in/You won’t finish this here, we’ll resume after the meditation”
“MS. MURAL” begins the second half of the album and it is a continuation of his “MURAL” series as the title suggests, it is Lupe who creates verbal imagery using paint and other references on the jazzy soundscape of Soundtrakk. Next is the jazz-hop aesthetic of “NAOMI” which juxtaposes religious elements and political views with poignant emotional resonance. It’s both thoughtful and thought-provoking and, in typical Lupe fashion, he ends it with a clever Malcolm X rhyme scheme that pulls from Star Wars, Microsoft’s popular home console, among other subtle things.
The title track and “SEATTLE” are as follows. The former is a graphic detail of the many forms of escape, personal greed and the insatiable need for profit while the latter is Lupe’s ode to the streets where he must roam in mysterious ways to avoid a host of evils besetting him. ‘wait. his soul. He is joined again by singer Nayirah who adds a soothing melodic touch to the track with her airy voice.
The project ends with “ON FAUX NEM”, Lupe begins with an observation “Rappers die too much, that’s it, that’s the verse” eventually becoming the first rapper with a 1-bar verse in hip-hop. The story doesn’t end there as he continues with a detailed account of inner city gang-related violence, the hypocritical view of it all as he admits he is not primarily a saint.
In a nutshell, Lupe sums up her approach to the album as follows, “”I try to strike a balance between the whimsical and the deep”. SION DRILLING MUSICLupe is beginning another chapter of her illustrious career, but it’s not done growing.
DRILL MUSIC IN ZION is available on all DSPs here.
Check out all the details about “LFT” on Henka.io.
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