Is Lupe Fiasco's Lasers A Failure (Album Review)
Lasers, the third studio album from rapper Lupe Fiasco, was released in 2011. It was highly anticipated by fans after hearing his first album, Food & Liquor and his second album, The Cool. Though this album did peak the charts at number one in the US, it disappointed many fans.
Many fans claim that the album didn’t have the same edgy, political rap that his previous albums had. Many also claim that the album is unlike Fiasco and that it is much too mainstream to fit the persona he has created for himself.
Today, I will determine once and for all whether or not Lasers is truly a failure.
*Warning: this album contains coarse language. Please proceed at your own discretion*
The album begins with the song ‘Letting Go’, which features long-time collaborator Sarah Green. Green has made an appearance on every album in the past, and for good reason. The energy she brings to this song is what makes it a strong piece. Though I do find the beat somewhat lacks the ‘oomph’ some of his previous songs have, it is a very lyrically strong start to the album.
‘Letting Go’ is followed by the extremely controversial piece ‘Words I Never Said’, which features the haunting voice of Skylar Grey. In my opinion, this song is one of the strongest, most impressive tracks on the album. The flow of his rap is unbelievably good, and when matched with Grey’s work in the chorus, it is truly a masterpiece. The song critiques American society and capitalism and each line has more meaning than the last. The beat is very powerful and definitely ties the song up very nicely.
‘Till I Get There’ is the next song on the album. This is a very emotional song about fame, and others trying to change who Fiasco is as an artist. It is very mellow and quite different compared to the majority of his work. In all honesty, the background is quite bland and repetitive, but the lyrics make up for that to some degree. Though it does have great lyrical meaning, this is definitely one of the weaker tracks.
Next, we have ‘I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now’. This song is the epitome of a good, high-energy rap song. The flow of the rap is exquisite and very well done on Fiasco’s part. It is a fast-paced song about brushing off the haters and being who you are. The beat is quick and catchy, and the lyrics are impressive, as always. This is definitely a strong part of the album.
‘Out of my Head’ follows, featuring popular artist Trey Songz on the chorus. The beat is good, but it isn’t great. This song is one that I would categorize as being quite far from his usual style in terms of the genre, and comes off like a pop song. The lyrics are lacking in my opinion, which came as a shock to me after seeing his previous work. This song is good, but it isn’t nearly as impressive as other songs on this album.
The song that follows is the album’s crowning achievement, ‘The Show Goes On’. This song is an inspirational anthem that encourages listeners that life goes on and that life is a beautiful thing to be celebrated. It is a story of how someone can start at the bottom and arrive somewhere incredible through hard work and dedication. The track is very catchy and the flow is great. This song is a single for a reason! The rap is very impressive and feel-good. Definitely a high point on this album!
Next, we have ‘Beautiful Lasers’, which is one of my personal favourites from the album. It is an emotional journey that we take with Fiasco; it is very epic and impressive overall. The chorus is very catchy and captures a very interesting side of Fiasco that we don’t often see in his other pieces. The beat matches the rap style well and captures the essence of the lyrics. This piece is emotional and truthful in a sense. This is another high point on the album.
A personal favourite of mine is ‘Coming Up’, which is a dance-able anthem that serves to inspire all who listen to it. It is particularly interesting in terms of showcasing a slower, upbeat, radio-friendly tone that isn’t seen on his previous albums. The rap is slower, which isn’t nearly as impressive, but it fits well with the tone of the song. This is a good, solid song, though it isn’t his best.
Following ‘Coming Up’, is the somewhat annoying ‘State Run Radio’. The rapping in this song is all right, but, in my opinion, the chorus is annoying. The song is very repetitive and not very original. It is frustrating to see Fiasco release this. This song is very disappointing.
The album comes back from ‘State Run Radio’ with a very strong track. ‘Break the Chain’, featuring Eric Turner and Sway, is a very high energy song that highlights that hard work and perseverance pays off in the end. The rap from Fiasco and Sway is very intense and exciting. It is very powerful and is tied up very nicely with the chorus, sung by Eric Turner. This song is definitely a force to be reckoned with!
The next song is ‘All Black Everything’, which is a slower song highlighting the struggle and ultimate strength of the African American people. It is a question of what the world might be like if racism didn’t exist. The flow is fantastic and lyrically; it is very interesting. This is Fiasco’s favourite track off of Lasers, and for good reason. This is without a doubt a great song.
Lastly, the album finished off with the very emotional and sad song about memories of people from Fiasco’s past. ‘Never Forget You’ is a touching song with a moving chorus sung by the talented John Legend. The tone is very nostalgic and emotional, and the rap isn’t lacking at all. It still manages to be a somewhat catchy song despite being very emotional. This song ends the album on a sad, yet high note.
Overall, I would say there are a few disappointments on this album, but altogether, it is a very powerful LP that highlights Lupe Fiasco’s strengths as an artist. I would recommend giving this album and artist a listen!
Top 3 songs: The Show Goes On, I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now and Break the Chain
Worst song: State Run Radio
Genre: Rap, Hip Hop