Soundbite: “DROGAS Light” by Lupe Fiasco

By: Aidan Rivas

The name Lupe Fiasco isn’t new on the rap scene. Since the mid-2000s, Fiasco has been an active and prominent rapper, as reflected by his Grammy award and several other Grammy nominations. The last album he released was in January 2015, but now Fiasco is back in a sizable way. On Feb. 10, “DROGAS Light” dropped, and Fiasco performed stunningly with mixtures of hard club-like trap and music reminiscent of mid-2000s R&B. This is not at all unwelcome, and is in a way exactly what we’ve come to expect from Fiasco, considering his past top tracks like “Battle Scars” and “The Show Goes On.”

There are more songs on the album that fit the trap music motif than R&B ballads. “DROGAS Light” is full of high-tempo and high-energy tracks. Fiasco’s new sound introduces eclectic beats that will not only make you bob your head, but maybe even make you get up and dance. The first song on the album, “Dopamine Lit,” starts off with a heavier trap mix and leads into high speed rapping in which Fiasco details the album’s contents and sets expectations for the rest of the album. This suggests that the album will be motivational and delightful.

The song “Jump” featuring Gizzle features Fiasco and Gizzle sharing an absurd tale of travel through the cosmos after a life of crime. The story itself is fit to make you laugh while also literally jumping to bars that shake you to the core. The song also samples vocals from the track “Bla Bla Bla” by Gigi D’Agostino for rhythmic support. Although the song is just a hair beyond serious, it highlights Fiasco’s inclination to make music to be enjoyable and not worry about the sensible aspects.

The album consists of a lot of extended metaphors, and in some cases, explicit metaphors, as Fiasco will specifically state that what he’d said prior was metaphor, as in the case of “Tranquillo” in which he says “…I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout them drugs, I’m talkin’ ‘bout that love.” Through these metaphors, Fiasco claims that he spreads a message of friendship and happiness alongside the standard rapping about an extravagant lifestyle. It’s an interesting dynamic and theme that persists throughout “DROGAS Light,” notable in songs like “Wild Child” and “Kill.”

The song “Pick Up the Phone” highlights that mid-2000s pop ballad tone that’s reminiscent of Fiasco’s earlier works. The chord progression brings back memories of “Superstar,” and the hook sounds like something out of an Usher song.

Overall, “DROGAS Light” is a great experience. It has memorable songs that can be blasted at parties, especially “It’s Not Design,” one of the most popping and fun songs on the album. The album is rumored to be a lighter version of another thematic album to be released later this year, “DROGAS.” With that in mind, the album scores a 7 out of 10. There are no completely dislikable songs on the album, only ones you need to be in the mood for. Lupe Fiasco, you’ve done it again.

Credit: G. Ducanis

Caption: Fiasco performs stunningly with mixtures of hard club-like trap and music reminiscent of mid-2000s R&B.

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