The sometimes controversial, always honest and outspoken Lupe Fiasco is back with his fourth studio album, ‘Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album’, which features radio favourite ‘Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)’ and his latest single release 'Bitch Bad'.
After making his mark in 2006 with 'Kick Push', Lupe quickly gained credibility and integrity with his first two albums, 'Food & Liquor' and 'The Cool', being received well by critics and the public alike. The albums were full of honesty and emotion and were used as a means of delivering his thoughts of America and the world. He's also had a bit of time in the public eye over his six-year career for disagreements with his record label and other artists, adding to his outspoken and controversial image.
Now, he's using his music to deliver his thoughts of society to the masses once more, and the cynical view on the use of the word 'bitch' in 'Bitch Bad' is a perfect example of that.
Lupe told the Daily Telegraph that after a change of direction on his last record 'Lasers', which many people saw to be a flop in comparison to his first two records, he was intent on going back to what he did best.
“This one is a revival of some my earlier work. My last work ‘Lasers’ was more for a commercial crowd. It had some hardcore, solid themes but was geared towards a different audience.”
You sense he somewhat blames his contract with Atlantic Records for the commercialisation of his music, as he went on to tell the Daily Telegraph that they had failed to move forward with technology.
“You would think it would be the case in 2012 that an artist could write a song and put it out there but record company system is still stuck in 1975 or 1989. They build up their forts and think payola still works and they still base their success on exposure on radio instead of social media.”
In explaining the new album to Rolling Stone, Lupe reiterated the importance of modernism in his music and the fact that he approached this album more concerned with producing a good quality rap album than one that will be commercially successful.
“There wasn't really a full musical arc to it, I was more caught up in the concept of the great American rap album as opposed to sonically how it would go. I just got beats that felt good, that sounded good. I can't say that there's a consistent theme throughout the album, but it's modern. That's the best way to describe it – it's a modern album with modern sounds, as opposed to it being a classic boom-bap record or a neo-soul record or a trap music record or whatever. It just sounds modern.”
He continued with Rolling Stone, making it clear that he’s a true artist, concerned only with producing music he likes rather than seeking out the bright lights of mainstream success.
“I do this for the sake of myself, it's a selfish process. I'm happy rapping a song like ‘Form Follows Function’ for myself, the same way I can sit and watch a movie by myself or go to an art gallery by myself. I don't really look to the public atmosphere for that kind of validation. I'm trying to find that validation in myself with my own art and put it on display, and if people like it, they like it. If they don't, they don't.”
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album’ is available now.