Since I am relatively new to Selective Hearing as of this writing, I have taken it upon myself to do some reviews of older products so the readers can better understand my style of writing reviews
2. The National Anthem
3. Turnt Up
4. Yoga Flame
5. L.A.S.E.R.S. Manifesto Interlude
7. So Ghetto
8. Say Something
9. Thank You
10. The One
11. Popular Demand
12. HP Skit
When Enemy Of The State was released back in November of 2009, as a fan I was excited. New material from Lupe Fiasco is always an intriguing thing for me. But when I first finished it, I couldn’t help but be confused. Confusing over his lyrics? His lyrical depth has always made me repeat full songs before but that wasn’t it. He seemed angry. Around this time, Lupe did make some noise for being left off MTV’s 2009 Hottest MCs In The Game list. And after the first listen through, I couldn’t help but be confused on why Lupe felt disrespected. I never took Lupe to care for such things before. And so when I did finish EOTS, I did enjoy what I heard but I couldn’t comprehend this transformation of sorts from the Chicago MC.
I intermittently listened EOTS from November of 09 to now. And so when I was looking for things to review for Selective Hearing, I decided to take on EOTS. And I needed to listen to the mixtape from beginning to end again. Then it hit me. Just like one of his verses, there was unknown depth to the mixtape. Lupe may have been genuinely upset over him being omitted from MTV’s list but that isn’t the main reason he dropped this mixtape.
Lupe Fiasco was just revitalized. Lupe just used the MTV list as his catalyst to remind the world that he is still that lyrical phenomenon seen on his albums.
As common with hip hop mixtapes, MCs routinely take each other’s instrumentals and rhyme over them. All the beats Lupe spits verses over on EOTS are from other MCs, except for one. After the intro, Lupe goes in on The National Anthem by Radiohead. But what Lupe does differently here is he does more than just rhyme over it, he times his words to the instruments and uses more from Radiohead than just their instrumental.
My spirit smells teenage
And Chi-town’s feeling excellent
We hit them with the President
See we set the precedent
I don’t feel I’m best
I just feel I’m better than
Then finishes with Thom Yorke singing “…everyone.”
From that point on, Lupe keeps this short but makes sure his verses are sweet. Similes and metaphors nearly at every bar, off the wall references and a different flow make EOTS a welcomed departure from the Lupe heard on his previous albums. (Or even previous mixtapes)
We can argue if Lupe Fiasco is taking jabs at certain people but what isn’t for debate is that Lupe is a word-smith and wants to remind the world he won’t simply be swept under the rug in the churning machine that is hip hop in this day and age.
The game was looking weak, the whole scene starved
So I came through with some Muscle Milk and protein bars
Barbells and jump ropes, Bowflexes to body it
And a couple Billy Blanks Tae-Bo Karate kicks
If you are going into listening to EOTS thinking you will get the Lupe from Food & Liquor or The Cool then be prepared for a shock. While there are plenty of messages that compliment those albums, this isn’t what this mixtape is about. It’s just Lupe being rejuvenated and him just rhyming over various beats for 22 minutes. And to our benefit, it’s something good.
And that takes us to 2010. With his third album Lasers set to release later in the year, after him climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for the global water crisis, EOTS served two jobs. The first was just for him to pick up his pen and write in his stream of consciousness to rid any emotions that could distract him from his third album. And the other is to deliver to his fans some Lupe branded style music. So consider EOTS an training exercise, to warm up to work on his third album. And if EOTS is any indication, Lasers is gonna be a worthy addition to the Lupe Fiasco catalog, just like EOTS.