Lupe Fiasco – “Drill Music in Zion” review

This is the 8th full-length album from Chicago emcee Lupe Fiasco. Blowing up in 2005 after appearing on “Touch the Sky” off of Kanye West’s sophomore album Late Registration, he then went on to release 2 classic albums Food & Liquor and The Cool in 2006 & 2007 respectively. However, his output since then has been very inconsistent. His next album Lasers in 2011 is easily his worst yet, Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album in 2013 was just ok but then Tetsuo & Youth in 2015 was a near perfect return to form for him. Given that, I was excited to see what he was going to do in the future. DROGAS Light wound up being a disappointing mixed bag, but DROGAS Wave eventually made up for it. Fast forward to today, we’re being treated to Drill Music in Zion fully produced by Soundtrakk.

After the “Lion’s Deen” intro, “Ghoti” kicks off the album with some horns rapping about assassin’s creed whereas “Autoboto” goes into a more abstract trap route defending himself in court. “Precious Things” has a little bit of a crestfallen tone to the beat as Lupe reflects on how all the stuff we love turns on us, but then “Kiosk” incorporates some pianos delivering a serious message to the type of people who like diamonds in their ears.

Meanwhile on “Ms. Mural”, we have Lupe immaculately closing out the “Mural” trilogy just like the way he started it leading into “Naomi” fusing jazz & boom bap together so we can get streams of consciousness lyrically. The title track admits that that episodes of the soul make him cold over an abstract, jazzy instrumental while the penultimate song “Seattle” is a cloudy, guitar-driven cut keeping his promise to the streets. “On Faux Nem” closes out the album wishing he was lied to by over horns & dusty drums.

Tetsuo & Youth was a great return to form for Lupe, so to say I was hyped for Drill Music in Zion would be an understatement. Needless to say: It blows Food & Liquor 2 out of the water much like DROGAS Wave did as far as sequel albums to. Soundtrakk’s production is incredibly detailed & the concept of “greed transforming each interaction into a transaction & how the profit motive corrodes our collective humanity” is very well thought out.

Score: 4.5/5

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