Album Review: Lupe Fiasco- Tetsuo and Youth

EVERYONE KNOWS I LOVE LUPE TO DEATH ! From the “About” section of this blog,  you can see the impact that Lupe Fiasco has had on my life, and my love for music particularly hip hop, as well as blogging. He’s basically the reason why I even started doing this, the reason why this blog exists. So bear with me if I can’t find words to  describe this album as well as I’d love to.(I’M STILL DIGESTING ITS AMAZINGNESS). I honestly find it hard to fathom that Lupe outdid himself yet again and released another priceless work of art which may only be fully appreciated by the world ten years from now.

I’ve had mixed feelings about his last two albums ,“Lasers” and “Food and Liquor 2”  just like any other hard core original Lupe fan.I adore the music yes ,but it’s been a long ride for us. You’d think that after “The Cool” which was the best rap album of 2007 and got four Grammy noms, Atlantic Records would treat Lu with the respect he deserves but they’ve been f*cking with him for a long time now. But this, this is apparently the last album released under those f*cks. It’s been a long wait but his 5th studio album “Tetsuo and Youth” has  FINALLY been released.

To begin with, I’d just like to say that I’m very proud of this album. For the past three years or so, Lupe has kind of gained a reputation of being very controversial and some people even call him an attention seeker.  But at the same time , he always has very valid points behind what he says. He’s always been one to stand up for himself and what he believes in. He is very adamant and opinionated , and that has inspired me as well as many of his fans to defend our ideas  in a very negative world. We need more people like him.

Nevertheless, I think many people expected this album to be a bit angry and controversial in consistency with how Lupe has been lately but it is the complete opposite. This is not only because he avoids political and social commentary in it, but just the way he sets a mood for the entire album.  The cover art is one of his paintings(yes he paints instead of popping bottles with girls in clubs.)He opens the body of work with “Summer” a beautiful instrumental with the voices of children playing in water and mesmerizing strings. At that point I wasn’t even sure what to expect, but it did make me excited to listen on, maybe it’s just PTLD(Post Traumatic Lasers Disorder- I saw this term somewhere online lol but are there any other die hard Lu fans still going through this? I feel y’all lol) And within the album there are three other instrumentals called “Fall”“Winter” and “Spring” which are like nice short breathers(or “palette cleaners” to  cleanse your mind as he describes) while listening but also play  powerful role in making this album a unique and complete work of art.

“Mural” is a 9 minute song. BRACE YOURSELF. I love and appreciate how some other  bloggers have acknowledged the fact that they too need some time to sit down and understand Lupe’s word play. His lyrical talent is appalling, it’s too smart for most people. If you listen to a song like “Mural” you probably won’t understand shit until you go over it a few more times unless you’re like me and you’re used to his vocabulary, flow  and lyrical epicness lol. But his conscious lyrics coupled with a beautiful instrumental is so  NOSTALGIC, I feel like I’m listening to the Lupe I always knew and missed.

He comments a little on the justice system and discrimination in “Prisoner 1 and 2″ ft Ayesha Jaco, his lil’ sister. It’s kind of what I was waiting for.  He mixes hard hitting verses with mellow vocals in the chorus and by this point I’m already lost in the album, lost in the music, which is a good sign.

The themes and topics in “Tetsuo and Youth” are very abstract (I mean the album title itself lol) but when you really pay attention he addresses many common and relatable issues. I can finally hear Lupe’s personality in the songs and his charm filters through. I think that many of his new fans wouldn’t understand what I mean by that but I guess it’s a subconscious bond that we have with his music.

I  love how Nikki Jean is all over the album, I only hear her on Lupe albums so I guess it also adds to the whole feel of having old Lu back. The song “Little Death” reminds of me of “Little Weapon” , a song on The Cool that Nikki also features on.  Just by the title though, the subject matter is completely different. From my understanding “la petite mort” as Nikki sings in the chorus means how your soul dies a little every time you sin. The instrumentation in this song is very raw and it sounds like it would be the perfect song to hear Lupe perform live.  Speaking of Nikki, she’s on the song “No Scratches”, which is like my favorite song on the album. When I heard it for the first time, I had to pause it half way and ask myself if it was even a real song. Like how is it possible to make such a beautiful song. Lyrically,it’s extra abstract, and this is coming from someone who is no stranger to Lupe’s abstraction. Yes, he did not dumb it down for anyone this time around! But nevertheless the production is mind blowing , the guitar in this.. bruh I’m in love. Thank God for SimonSayz for that beat.

The other song I’m crazy about on the album is definitely “Deliver” ft Ty Dolla $ign. I love the music they’ve been making together. Many wouldn’t have expected them to collaborate but I think it’s great! He had released it as a single a while ago, and it got me really pumped up for the album. He incorporates a clever style of using small points like “delivering pizza” to bring out bigger, more elaborate points.  Another example of the lyrical mastery your favourite rapper only dreams of having lol.

“Adoration of the Magi” ft Crystal Torres.WOAH. This song is beyond fire. I don’t even know what to say, the production is on another level. DJ Dahi is just too sick and Crystal Torres with that trumpet !! Wooooh!  I dig this song too much. I missed this side of Lu, he sounds like he’s having more fun with it. And of course, it carries a much deeper, and more interesting meaning with it.

“Madonna” ft Nikki Jean is so trappy but I like it. It sounds like a song from Kanye’s My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy album. More DJ DAHI for the soul. Yaaas. Plus I’m obsessed with Lu’s vocals in it.

I’m really into the production in this album, but with names like S1, DJ Dahi and the Buchanans all over the album, you can’t expect nothing but musical greatness!I am , especially pleased that Lupe sounds a lot more like himself in this album. I think that in this he was able to combine new elements into his music and grow, but still keep it authentic. It didn’t sound like the label forced him to do anything, he definitely had creative control over this album. I think that the hard core fans will love it the  most. I feel like he is reclaiming what many  said he “lost” with his last two albums. This album can definitely compete with The Cool and Food and Liquor, it’s on that level.

I never really talk about Lupe’s lyrics because  he’s a lyrical genius.  And a genius in general.Point black. Period. I don’t really need to tell y’all about that because you will hear that for yourself.  I have to say that this album isn’t for the simple minded. Lyrically this might the best album to have ever been created, Lupe is too ahead of his time. I think my love for Lupe has reached the point where I don’t even care if people don’t like him. Like whatever losers, you are missing out on amazing music from an actual intelligent rapper who makes music about stuff that affects all of us.It’s always great to , you know, listen to music that isn’t about hoes and money for once. Sometimes I feel like the people who don’t like Lu’s music, just aren’t smart enough to understand it lol . I know I know, he’s a bit of a nerd but behind those metaphors, analogies and clever rhymes is a vital message. This album might only be truly appreciated 10 years from now when people catch on to what he was talking about.

So anyway, I ADORE this album. (Like seriously I can’t even put it into words how much I love it, ).It’s gonna be a great year for Lupe.He finally gave his day one fans what they’ve been yearning and that he re-discovered himself along the way. I don’t think that this is an album for new Lupe fans, it might be too complex for people who are new to his music or don’t know what he’s really about. It’s crazy that this is album five like it honestly feels like FNL came out just a few years ago.This album was like the best way to end his relationship with Atlantic Records. I hope it sells out because  Lupe’s music isn’t just impressive and informative, it’s something much more important, it’s INSPIRING. He really goes hard on this and it’s a collection of very powerful and beautiful songs. I couldn’t even comment on all of them cause I was crying half way through listening to them, Lupe is my life.  I couldn’t be prouder of my role model and idol. Make sure you listen  to it( about a thousand times) and by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR peeps, hope I’m not too late hehe.


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