Lupe Fiasco really hasn’t made it easy to be a fan of his over the years. After bursting onto the scene with two incredible albums and bringing real lyricism and substance, I thought we might have our next big non-commercial, commercial rapper. But then it was almost like he had a crisis of conscience or something, because it became about everything but the music with him. All the inane tweeting, pointless back and forth, and mediocre projects really lessened my opinion about him; both as a person and as a musician. He was really starting to come off as a pretentious douche. Tetsuo & Youth and unfollowing him on Twitter restored some of my faith, but I needed to hear more consistency from him on DROGAS Light for me to get back on board.
“When you got popped up and you got locked up
And the block shot up and your girl knocked up
And your kids be like, “Who gonna watch us?”
Your mama, they nana”
I’ve long been wanting to hear more of a return to his Food & Liquor and The Cool days, but it appears that those days are all but gone. DROGAS Light opens with the very bass heavy, trap influenced “Dopamine Lit (Intro)” and it doesn’t really let up the rest of the way. “Dopamine Lit (Intro)” is a good enough song, with some cool looping of manipulated vocals, but the majority of the production on the rest of the album is quite frankly, boring as f*ck. It’s almost as if the pretentious douche side of Lupe started to come out again, and he wanted to prove to this new generation of rappers and listeners that he can do their style of music better than they can. But the blunt reality is that he can’t; the Migos, Rae Sremmurds, and Future’s in the world are a thousand times better at this 808 driven, ad-lib heavy music than he ever will be, and that’s ok. He’s far more interesting when he’s playing in his own lane but unfortunately we get few glimpses of this outside of songs like “Kill” (my favorite song off the album) and “High.”
“Ayy, born in the middle of the West
Lil’ nigga, living in the middle of death
Raised ’round killers, that’s why little impress
I’m sorry white folks, if it sound I’m a little oppressed
And I’m sorry, my niggas, but I think you the best”
Lyrically, there’s really no questioning Lupe’s skills as an MC. To me he’s one of rap’s elite and can rap laps about nearly anyone. While I didn’t find the production on DROGAS Light to be terribly exciting, he does still deliver layered verses worth a listen or two. Although, I didn’t find his lyrics to be nearly as impactful as some of his past work. Where he missed his opportunity to be subversive in his production, he somewhat makes up for it in his lyrics, subverting the usual trap tropes with verses and lyrics that have much deeper meanings and implications than they imply on the surface.
Have you heard DROGAS Light? What’d you think about it? Did you like his attempts at creating trendy, trap influenced music? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.