If you think about it, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco were the guys who led off this sort of dark, almost emo-rap subgenre that has made stars out of Kid Cudi and Drake. More than that, though, when Lupe came out, he seemed like a throwback to the times when rappers had substance and an eye for narrative. In hip-hop these days, the bright spots appear even brighter because there are so few of them. Lupe’s debut, “Food & Liquor”, was a definite bright spot. The follow-up, “The Cool”, not so much. It wasn’t bad, but I expected better. Nevertheless, it got Lupe some well-deserved commercial props.

Lupe’s third album has been “coming soon” for well over a year now. It’s gone through a couple of title changes, (“lupEND”, “Lasers” and most recently, “Food & Liquor Part II) and I can’t tell if Lupe’s gonna follow through on his plans to a) make it a triple-CD set (I can’t see his label signing off on that) or retire after the album is released (if I had a dollar for every time a rapper retired…). Nevertheless, it appears that the release date is actually drawing near-as the song “Go to Sleep” has gone to radio. Not totally sure if I’m feeling this one yet. I like the production. Just trying to figure out what Lupe’s saying lyrically (if he’s saying anything at all). Far be it for me to expect a story to be told in a song. No solid release date for Lupe’s new album, but hopefully this taste will tide you over until we get one.

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