It is no surprise that Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo & Youth album landed in the top 10 for Billboard album sales its first week. However, the fifth studio album sold less than half of its copies compared to the follow-up album Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, which peaked around 90,000 the week it dropped. Is it because his last album was a disappointment or did fans not believe Lupe would be capable of creating another masterpiece since his latest release after finally breaking from Atlantic Records? As an artist, all you want to do is simply be an artist. By using his unique creativity that fans love, Lupe did just that.
In an interview on Skee TV, Lupe described the album as his “least flawed album.” He wants fans to be aware that the album represents his freedom after leaving the label that kept him enslaved for over ten years. Everything about the recording is merely abstract. From its cover to the song titles, the entire project embodies a powerful yet story-telling voice. Even the youthful visions stirred by its four season instrumentals: “Summer,” “Fall,” “Winter” and “Spring” add to the creative metaphor of the visuals he gives along with his raps.
If you are familiar with the superstar’s arrogant but creatively conscious Twitter personality, he gives off a spitting image in his metaphors.
“Life is not a dictionary, it’s a thesaurus/And I feel like a missionary to a clitoris,” Lupe quoted in the lyrics to the album’s second track “Mural,” which is roughly eight minutes long with no hook, setting the tone for the larger picture of the album.
Two of my favorites are “Dots and Lines,” which has a geometry based theme and “Body of Work,” with its hypnotizing sound featuring Troi and Terrace Martin. It was also a relief that the hip-hop savior brought Nikki Jean back on the features. Her last appearance on a recording with Lupe was on his second album The Cool. It was refreshing to hear her R&B vocals again on one of the leading tracks “Madonna (And Other Mother’s In The Hood).”
A few other features from the Tetsuo: The Iron Man film inspired recording include Guy Sebastian, Ayesha Jaco, Troi, Terrance Martin, Ab Soul and Trae Tha Truth. Producers include DJ Dahi, Jaco and more.
By releasing the sixteen-track album, Lupe has given his fans what they love best: his lyrics. “Like…half the world hates me. There are people that come up with the wildest excuses to why I’m ineligible or I’m wack,” he sings.
Lupe accepts the fact that he may not get radio play or publicity, but instead chooses to care less about the standards placed on him as an artist of the hip-hop community. Lupe’s main delivery is that he wants to be free.