Saturday, January 24, 2015

Album Review | Tetsuo & Youth - Lupe Fiasco

"The very personification of what hip-hop truly is-Lupe Fiasco, man..."  

When it comes to art, the biggest flaw is the lack of substance, as well as the lack of appreciation for other artist. Modern day culture is so synchronized with instant gratification, that sometimes, we're not in a position to experience the kind of art that takes time and effort and skill. It's the same with music. We don't want art, we want hits and even though the two can ride the same wave at times, they can also be very different. There is a time and place for thought provoking lyrics, a time and place for heavy bass lines, and I think the most hated rappers in the game get a lot of back lash for having content that this generation doesn't seem to want anymore. 

Even with Lupe Fiasco being one of the pioneers of hip-hop, he's matured into an artist who is definitely not fearful of standing out nor is he afraid to create from his own perspective; his music stems from an honest place. I've always respected him for it, despite how much I disagreed, or rather, didn't understand where he was coming from. 

Tetsuo and Youth is like reading a book from the 19th century, not only because it sounds like a narrative, but also because its a masterpiece that is so ahead of its time. It wasn't surprising to me that it was an instant classic, but it was indeed impressive piece of work. The title is pretty clever and is, perhaps, tied to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film. Although I have my favorite individual songs, which I'll discuss shortly, the entire creation, production, flow, lyricism, and instrumental organization of this EP is flawless-absolutely worth the 3 year wait.

The overall structure of this album was pretty dope, brilliant as well. I'm a numbers person, so the 3-4-5 ratio sequence created this sort of balance, that wasn't immediately noticeable. The interludes, all named after the 4 seasons, did a really awesome job at setting the tone for the tracks that followed, the conclusion leading me to believe that the next project will be part II. We shall see.

In no specific order, my favorite tracks are Dots & Lines, Deliver, Mural, They.Ressurrect.Over.New (ft. Ab-Soul and Troi), and No Scratches (ft. Nikki Jean). Dots & Lines and Deliver are more political tracks, going in depth about the socio-economic issues within the black community. I was intrigued by all the mathematics and word play in Dots & Lines. Mural not only has major bars, but the piano instrumentation is so gorgeous and precise. Entering in like a video game, They.Ressurrect.Over.New sounded like a journey through personal nostalgia to a more present moment in the character's life. Last but not least, what excited me about No Scratches (also featured on Little Death), was that he was working with the incredible Nikki Jean again. The heavier topics on many of the songs were a lot to take in, so I automatically had to listen to them more than I listened to the album itself.

In order to truly understand anything, you have to start from the beginning. Having been a die hard fan of Lupe for so long, I've picked up on the continual concept, the unbroken story line that tends to override into the next project. With that understanding, and before I bought my personal copy of the album, I started with The Cool and just listened my way up. When I finally got to 2015 in the discography, I expected it to be great in it's own way and just a profound perpetuation of what's already been said/taught. This album surpassed all of that with flying colors.  I don't even believe it's a stretch of the imagination to say this is one of the greatest hip-hop compilations of all time, or at least in the past decade, and is, in my opinion, his most ambitious work to date.

Love this album. Go buy it, please. Tell me what you think {via Twitter or the comment section} and let's have a conversation.
Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA


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