Lupe Fiasco has been waiting years to release his most bold and brash album to date, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. While 2011’s Lasers aimed for commercial success, the Chi-town lyricist doesn’t compromise, tackling political, social, and cultural issues on the conscious cuts. The outspoken rapper has criticized everyone from President Obama to Chief Keef, but how did the critics receive his latest? Find out below.
Rolling Stone: Food & Liquor II has the usual Lupe deficiencies: a hectoring tone (“Bitch Bad”) and bombastic beats that pile-drive messages home. He’s better when he relaxes a little: Songs like “Hood Now,” a celebration of black cultural takeover, have a lighter touch, and hit twice as hard. 3/5
USA Today: Fiasco has said this would be his last album. That would be too bad. He is one of the most incisive, though not politically correct, thinkers.
The Boston Globe: He remains an unrepentant critic of the president and military recklessness and, while he has a tendency toward tendentiousness, he also maintains his playful love of language (“Put ‘Em Up”). The beats are often pedestrian or lazy here; one hopes Part 2‘s music will be as ambitious as the lyrics.
Washington Post: Much of Food & Liquor II feels similarly high-stakes, especially at a time when most socially conscious rap seems carefully engineered to withstand the glare of the spotlight.
The Guardian: Standout single “Bitch Bad” examines how language shapes attitudes with forensic nuance (and piss-taking Auto-Tune). … The tunes are pugnaciously mass-market, with debts to Kanye West. Throughout, though, tracks such as “ITAL (Roses)” and “Audubon Ballroom” come inflected with righteous fury and weary humour. 3/5
RedEye: It’s satisfying to see Lupe pull off the trick of making an effective political album in an era when politically charged pop music is generally uncool. … This is his most focused album to date, which marks a big step up from last year’s troubled Lasers. 3/4
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Bitch Bad,” “Lamborghini Angels,” “Form Follows Function,” “Hood Now”