Lupe Fiasco

Album Review: Lupe Fiasco’s “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1”

Lupe Fiasco’s been a polarizing character for most of the right and wrong reasons, to say the least. On one hand, he’s a lyrical guillotine and has still retained his clever wordplay while relating to more artists and listeners than the average rapper, while on the other hand, his brash, outspoken comments can stir up a firestorm within seconds of him pressing the “Enter” button on his Twitter account. The last time Lupe was in the spotlight musically for an extended amount of time, he released L.A.S.E.R.S, which some think was more of an Atlantic Records creation than his own, but Lupe’s since promised that his follow-up and current release, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album (Part 1), would be all of his own doing.

If that’s the case then it explains why the level of replay value is so high for this LP; lyrically Lupe’s still a decapitating guillotine, as he throws in clever metaphors to further his point (and not just for the sake of doing it like most). The subject matter on the album is at times seemingly too heavy for the production, but it’s yet another method that Lupe uses to successfully draw listeners in (see: “B*tch Bad”, or the Mr. Inkredible-produced “Lamborghini Angels”). That doesn’t mean that he fails to get busy on a couple, however, as he delivers a few crazy verses for “Put Em Up” and “Form Follows Function” that can easily make you hit the rewind a few times. To be honest, even the single stabs this time around are much better than L.A.S.E.R.S, with Lupe recruiting Bilal for the soulful “How Dare You” (it’ll be a shame if that doesn’t make a radio playlist soon), and Lupe’s heart is on display as he opens up about his brother’s death on “Cold War.

However, as great as the replay value of substance and execution makes this album, Food & Liquor II is not perfect at all. Lupe unsuccessfully tries his luck with singing on “Audobon Ballroom”, but thankfully leaves that task to the plethora of guest features scattered throughout the playthrough. Unfortunately, even that fails at times, as the hook from Casey Benjamin for “Strange Fruition” takes a couple of plays to grasp due to the distortion effect used on the vocals. In addition, the “Go To Sleep” track could’ve easily been included in the normal tracklisting in the place of fillers such as “Heart Donor” and “ITAL (Roses)” [note: “Go To Sleep” is included in the deluxe iTunes edition]. Although they aren’t bad songs by any means and have great messages, they don’t flow well with the vibe of the album, and the Autotuned breakdown during “ITAL” doesn’t help defend this argument any.

Granted, some could complain about the length of the album, but that could be due to Lupe wishing this was a double album to begin with, so there had to be concessions made in that aspect. Even with its nitpicks and flaws, Lupe Fiasco delivered on his promise to make an album his fans and supports could appreciate with Food & Liquor II. It’s a lyrically strong album that is sure to spark conversations due to its content, and can easily draw in casual listeners due to the LP’s sound and presentation. Regardless of what you may think of the man due to his online antics and statements, he does indeed know how to make though-provoking music. There’s no reason to not give this a play, or to support the release.

AllHipHop Rating: 8.5 / 10

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  • JaffarR

    I disagree. You gave this album the same rating as you did “Cruel Summer”?! Really?!
    This album is lightyears ahead of that commercial CD for which if it wasn’t for the singing and production, was a total mess.
    Lupe has given his fans exactly what they expected/wanted from him in this age. After a decent (or mediocre) album in Lasers, Fiasco bounced back with a phenomenal LP.
    Tracks like “Audubon Ballroom, Form Follows Function”, “Unforgivable Youth”, “Strange Fruition” and “Brave Heart” are vintage Lupe– at his best. I honestly as a fan of hip-hop couldn’t have asked for a better album.

    Lyrics- 10/10
    Production- 8/10
    Songs- 9/10

    Overall- 9.5 / 10

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  • insaneangelic

    9.5 or a 10 Lupe went in on this CD. Definition of Chi-town/Midwest Hip Hop.

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  • 7yoyo7

    The album is DOPE. Anybody who says that Lupe is just a conscious rapper needs to listen to this second part album.
    Not many rappers of our current generation can rap as good as this dude. He killed the “Around my way” track and blessed this ORIGINAL beat at the wame time.
    Its a breath of fresh air with today’s BS rap level. No need to dumb the music down to make good music…

    I’m buying it.

  • Mongo Slade

    LUPE IS A GIANT AMONG MIDGETS!

  • BearerOfHarshWords

    I am surprised you didn’t mention the fact the song “Battle Scars” featuring Australian singer Guy Sebastian is without-a-doubt one of the best songs on this album. Guy has a beautiful voice for this style of music; powerful, loud and nice to listen too coupled with Lupe’s easy to digest lyrical verses.

    Definitely one of Lupe’s best albums since the original Food & Liquor.

    • Content-wise, “Battle Scars” is dope, but for some reason the overall vibe of the song truthfully wasn’t for me. It’s one of those songs that’s cool, but just not for me, per say. That’s why it went unmentioned; I felt it would’ve just been filler for me to mention a song I didn’t have a strong positive or negative opinion on.

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  • Carlos

    good album but not more than 8.5 rating. But i agree is definitely better than cruel summer. Cruel summer is a 7 at best, and thats if i forget about that awful cudi song.

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  • Not a terrible review I have to disagree with your critique of Audubon Ballroom and ITAL (Roses) tho…and Heart Donor is just bad imo dont know why Poo Bear keeps getting all these features on Lu’s albums I just cringe when i see his name next to a Lu song im bout to listen to.. Ill give it a 9 would be a 10 if had 1 or 2 more “Rapity Rap Songs” as Lu would Put it…Looking forward to Part 2

  • MiiUziWeighsATon

    Haven’t heard this yet…been waiting for this review and you guys comments first…going to cop it today when I get a chance…I’m excited…havent been this excited about a release in 6 years…now…wishing Hov takes his time and puts out some really dope shyt…he needs another BLACK ALBUM or AMERICAN GANGSTER…I need some dope bars by my boy Hov he been lazy lately

  • This album is ahead of Cruel Summer on a substance outlook. i agree with the 9.5’s because its a complete album with a couple songs being misplaced.

  • Nathan Bryant

    10 out of 10 for me. I’m not just saying that because I like Lupe either. I really disagree with some of the things said in this article. I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion but to say distortion with the chorus from singing, that was way off. Everything was clear and the chopped and screwed parts made perfect sense when they’re used. Especially on Lamborghini Angels. I think there is some confusion between some of his songs, but I think that can be the listeners fault of comprehension. Maybe they’re so into commercial music they won’t comprehend or like the sound of something lyrically better and meaningful. Lupe can give you some serious bars and have awesome subject matter, or he can just go in and leave you like how does he do that.

    • I like how you said, “Maybe they’re so into commercial music…”

  • Kendall Yorke

    am i the only person who likes Ital (Roses) i do agree heart donor is not good

    • essHwhy

      not for nothing, i thought ITAL was one of the best tracks on the album. so dope lyrically, and the beat wasnt half bad to me. *shrug*

    • i agree with this! Ital (roses) is fire and heart donor is ehh

    • A lot of people like “ITAL”, so it’s all good. Just a different style song from the rest of the album. I’m sure you’re not the only one who rocks with it.

  • essHwhy

    fair overall review, but i woulda gave it a 9.

  • Z

    I see alot of comments overrating it

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Lupe fan, but…

    The Cool, F&L Advance/Leak, F&L are all > than this. The only thing this is better than is LASERS,

    So, unless you’re giving The Cool, F&L, and F&L leak all 10/10.. there’s no way this can be a 9 or more.

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  • The production really wasn’t that great. I mean sure, the lyrics were amazing, and it’s not always about beats, but it seems a good half of the songs were laced with the same emotionless generic beat. I’m a huge lupe fan, but some of you are giving more than this album deserves.

    • noramandog

      i totally agree. I like all the singles(“Around my way”, “bitch bad”,etc), “brave heart” and a few other songs but i feel like over all its not that great of an album. Actually i think some aspects of “Lasers” is better than “Food and liquor 2”. I love all his other stuff and the cool is still the best album I’ve ever heard.I just wish the album followed the style of go to sleep and american terrorism 3 more. It could have been better in my opinion.

      songs:6
      lyrics:8
      production:5

  • I think your review wasnt too off although I do disagree with a few things…I do believe this album was atleast two points above Cruel Summer. As a huge fan of Lupe, I can honestly say that this album didnt top F&L or The CooL. It was a bit more complex as fas as Lu’s lyrical abilities, and it was much better than Lasers, however it wasn’t as good as it could have been. I think any real fan knows that Lu could have done a better job on making better songs overall. I think “Heart Donor” is awful, “Audobon Ballroom”, and “How Dare You” could have been a lot better. Most of the production and hooks were just medicore at best. I also think that “Ital” is one of the best songs on the album…along with Strange Fruition, L-Angels…..Maybe if Lu could have got better production and maybe (crossing fingers) one day Lu would be willing to feature some caliber artist to have as features and also help with the hooks. I would give this album a 7.5…..I would give F&L -8.5//The Cool – 9// Lasers – 6

  • ITAL (roses) is definetly the best song on the album

  • Damn, I will love ANYTHING Lupe Fiasco does, fnf up. but for me, nothing will beat F&L, the cool, I expected LupEND when LASERS came out, and I expected to change my life just like F&L, the cool did, but it didn’t. and I guess that’s all I can say is that this album is fantastic. but the 8.5/10 i feel is a rating compared to what we all know lupe fiasco could give us. a 10 on Lupe is like a fuckin 89 for any other rapper, he is out of their league.

  • RealRapRAW22

    Form follows function goes stoopid hard, only form the heads!..gotta be smart kids. Plus the background violin at the beginning of the verses does it so much justice..such a fluid blend. ..stay on point! 1010

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  • I wish I woulda had a blunt to initiate this new addition to my collection. Its dope sober anyway! I give it a 9er!!