Lyricism on ‘Lasers’ is at an all time high

By Christine Saraceno
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After releasing two critically acclaimed albums, Lupe Fiasco found himself under immense mounting pressure to duplicate the results a third time. Between trying to appease his dedicated fans who wished to see him keep his edgy approach and going head to head with his record label (Atlantic) who wanted a modern, radio-friendly, hip-hop release, the rapper struggled to find common ground.

Lasers” is the final product of that exhaustive creative tug-of-war, but the controversy surrounding the album is just beginning. Many listeners have bashed “Lasers” as being another casualty of big labels cashing in on over produced hip-hop and have criticized Fiasco for conforming to mainstream standards.

The first two opening tracks, “Letting Go” and “Words I Never Said” set an ominous tone for the otherwise generally upbeat record complete with distorted, anguish-filled vocals.

“Til I Get There” is a laid back homage to his first CD “Food & Liquor” and is the start of a string of up tempo songs such as “Out of My Head” which features Trey Songz’s R&B vocals drenched in a synth beat, and the album’s lead single “The Show Goes On” whose chorus gives a nod to indie rock band Modest Mouse’s hit “Float On.”

In addition to Songz, there are numerous other collaborators such as Sarah Green, Eric Turner, MDMA, and the incomparable John Legend.

Fiasco’s lyricism is at an all time high and he pulls no punches in who he chooses to slam, like on the aforementioned “Words I Never Said” where he raps: “Murdering is not Islam/And you are not observant/And you are not a Muslim/Israel don’t take my side ’cause look how far you’ve pushed them.”

Long time fan and Valencia student Josh Fernandez said “Everyone should buy it. ‘Beautiful Lasers’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. It’s definitely something to listen to on repeat.”

While on a large scale, fans and critics seem to be divided in their opinion of “Lasers”, there’s no getting past its universe appeal. Some tracks do have a club vibe to them which is very popular in mainstream music today, but as a whole the songs are very versatile. New listeners of hip-hop music who may have been previously put off by repetitive rhymes and recycled beats will appreciate Fiasco’s socially conscious, meaningful lyricism and diversity as an artist.

Whether it meets fans’ expectations or not, “Lasers” is an album that demands and deserves to be heard by all.