Lifted Mindz is introducing a new hip-hop album review series! Whether it be local or global, we all know every hip-hopper has their own (frequently expressed) opinion about the latest release of the year, month, or week. The LMZ tribe all have their own particular views to express on the topic and I, Logoz the Kritick, am here to live up to the critical nature of my name by giving you my own review series from what I think are legendary projects within the vast realm of hip-hop.
The first edition I give you is from someone who, like a great few, lives up to the honor of being from the top 5 in my book of legends - none other than the Lupe Fiasco, with DRAGAS Light.
I grew up listening to Lupe; like many of us I first heard Kick, Push and discovered Food and Liquor. That being said I will admit I fall into the group of cats who don't dig Lasers as much as the rest of his discography because of its pop feel. Still dig it. Just not as much. But, it is a great addition because the positive aspects are felt within DRAGAS Light. So, following Lasers is Tetsuo and Youth which is, in my opinion, much closer to Lupe's roots (Food & Liquor, The Cool). The great thing about DRAGAS Light is that I feel like I hear Lupe find a firm-footed balance between the two albums, hanging on to his conscious beginnings while remaining one of the most respected artists in hip-hop, or even in general within the music industry as a whole.
Okay, get to the point, I know. DRAGAS Light, ladies and gentlemen, is a fine piece of work by a well-weathered master in the high art of hip-hop. Off the bat - the first track, "Dopamine Lit," is an intro that blows many emcees' whole discographies out the discussion. Following that is a very well-blended adventure through life in Lupe's eyes. "Promise" is another track that stands out to me. At first I didn't even know it was Lupe's voice. He pulls out his dangerous, almost parody-like, but boldly genuine style. And, indeed, I do believe he does keep it honest.. No joke - it's a disclaimer: he's back, he's making a point. All throughout the album this seems to be a prevalent theme. The next point that really hits is all the great features. "Tranquillo" has wonderfully-timed guest verses by Big KRIT and Rick Ross which, in my opinion, are a combination that also represents Lupe's dynamic between mainstream and the underground. The mix between sounding pop and staying real is prevalent on the hook in this song.
A few other songs that stick out to me are "It's Not Design," and "Wild Child." I really, really like the experimental vocal effects that Lupe uses in the back half of "It's Not Design." It brings a space-like vibe that actually makes you feel like a part of the story in the song - one of Lupe's best abilities. Then, back to back, we have "Wild Child." Definitely one of the more pop-driven tracks on the project - which usually steers me away. Not this time though. Lupe's lyrical content is par-none and the chorus has a happy, almost nostalgic vibe. The album wraps up with, "More Than My Heart," an awesome tribute to the moms in all our lives. Leave it Lupe to pick any topic and make a banger track every time.
All in all, Drogas Light is a fantastic ride through the masterful combination of grade-A hip-hop and catchy pop hooks. I highly encourage a front-to-back listening to grasp the whole image Lupe is trying to paint. As always it a beautiful scene - full of both beautiful and harsh truth. Throw it on and strap up your boot laces.
Thanks for tuning in. Catch you on the next review! Peace.
-Logoz the Kritick