That’s My Jam is a feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.

I did a whole That’s My Jam piece on this album, so I’m dipping into the well one too many times. But I am going to see Lupe live on March 15th in Seattle where he will be performing this album in full. So in the middle of listening to it, I remembered that part of the story of this album is that it had leaked early (back when album leaks were still a serious thing). He then recorded new songs that would end up being on the retail version of Food & Liquor. So as a way to maintain the rhythm I developed with last year’s Year of Discovery, I will write about each of the leaked songs that ultimately didn’t make the final version. 

Thanks to reddit user masterbeast for the thread they made five years ago that made me wanna revisit these songs!

Theme Music to a Drive By

This did get an official release on the 5th Anniversary edition of the album. I always held this song as Exhibit A whenever I wanted to show his lyrical prowess:

When they was all back of a nickel like Monticello
When the underworld had to be smarter than Donatello
No honor amongst fellows
It’s harder than sitting with a blind man and
Trying to describe yellow

It’s just rapping and I still love it.

Ghetto Story (Steady Mobbin’)

Early Lupe (and modern day Lupe, actually) was heavy into storytelling rap and this is another example of the skill of creating the environment you can imagine. Although I do still enjoy listening to it, I prefer The Cool (the song) over this if I were to compare the two storytelling songs.

Spaze Out

Gotta love the revolutionary energy. I do also like his flow and how he bounces on the beat.

Trials and Tribulations

Couldn’t believe this was the original version of Pressure, sans Jay-Z verse, too! 

Three verses of more harder, gangster bars from Lupe. Also digging the energy of the braggadocio raps. I’m torn, cause I do love the Jay-Z version, but I do think Lupe performs better on this version. I should just make a version that combines both.  

Make Sure

More storytelling Lu! A love story with some deeper meanings lying inside, sounds about right. I couldn’t help but think but this is slightly more crude version of He Gets The Girl

Real Recognize Real

Astute (rather in reality nerds like myself) will notice the third verse here Lupe used during a BET cypher.

Of all the songs that were leaked, this is one the few I wish was kept. He walks you through the characters for Michael Young Story and what would end up influencing the next album. 

Hustlaz Song

Originally Hustlaz Due from the Lupe the Jedi mixtape. I forgot it was on that mixtape. It’s not bad, but feels aged. 

Game Time

Love the beat on this. Also love the laid back nature of his delivery. Also as masterbeast points out, top-tier wordplay:

I’m just trying to do the opposite of left
As long as there is the opposite of death
You test, and I might just bring the opposite of life
Till there’s no one the opposite of right 

Slow Down

Also known as Carrera Lu, which also appeared on the 5th Anniversary edition. I used to be into this song a lot, but I find it serviceable but not anything I would return to on a regular basis.

Overall Thoughts

It’s hard to listen to these songs while having a lot of nostalgia and adoration for what the album ended up being. However, if the album came out as is, I would probably still fell in love with his music and live my life as a fan the same way. Everything that made me a fan is all there, which makes the entire story of this album impressive. He recorded new songs and changed out a lot of the original DNA, and we still got an incredible album that he’s doing a tour of all these years later. 

I’m excited to see him live, again!