Riding the DROGAS WAVE with Lupe Fiasco on Off The Record [Ep 18]

Welcome to Off The Record! A Fresh Weekly Album Review segment brought to you by @stickykeys!
18th Edition
September 25th 2018
Lupe Fiasco


Lupe Fiasco is one of those rappers which have emerged post-90’s that I have plenty respect for. Aside from his talent, he is able to push the boundaries and doesn’t only restrict himself to just the Hip Hop genre. Similar artists which have followed suit are Kid Kudi and Childish Gambino. They don’t let the music define them. Instead, they define the music. They just happen to fall under category because their first outing in the game might have been a hip hop song or album. A clear example of this is Fiasco’s side project, Post-Punk/Indie Rock band Japanese Cartoon, where he uses his real name (Jaco). They have released one album in 2010 titled ‘In the Jaws of the Lords of Death‘.

Fiasco is known by his birth name, Wasalu Muhammad Jaco and was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1982. He’s from West African decent and his father was a member of the Black Panther Party and was a drummer, an operating plant engineer, and a karate teacher as well as owner of several karate schools and surplus stores. Although his parents divorced at an early age, his father would continue to be a big part of his life. He would listen to N.W.A. one day, and the next day listen to Ravi Shankar, and the following day learn to shoot and AK-47. This influence is evident in his musical diversity currently.


As a failed instrument player, he would instead begin to write poetry and by eighth grade, he would began rapping his poetry. Consequently, he listened to Nas‘ 1996 album, ‘It Was Written‘, and he began to pursue Hip Hop. He became friends with a gang member named Bishop G. in high school because of their shared interest in music and they began making Mixtapes together and they received notoriety in their high school. However, they were kicked off the stage during their first performance because their eclectic styles were not accepted by the local Hip Hop community.

Lupe Fiasco got his first stage name, as ‘Lu’ was the nickname given by his mother, the last part of his first name. Lupe was an extension of that. He got the ‘Fiasco’ from The Firm’s song ‘Firm Fiasco’ and he liked the way the name looked on paper. He is best know for his first single, ‘Kick, Push‘ from his 2006 album ‘Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor‘ and ‘The Show Goes On‘ from his 2011 album, ‘Lasers‘.



I would love to talk more about Fiasco’s interesting rise to fame, but I think it’s time to move on to his most recent album which is long enough on its own. ‘DROGAS Wave‘ is the second part of a trilogy following 2017’s ‘DROGAS Light‘. Released on September 21, 2018 and clocking in at an incredible 98-minutes, and twenty-four tracks long. They aren’t some lazy twenty-four tracks, but two or three-minutes long either, no, aside from the few interludes, the songs average to closer to five-minutes each. DROGAS Wave displays music that spans his thirteen-year career and more. Feature artists included on this album are Nikki Jean (on a majority of the feature tracks), Crystal Torres, Troi Irons, Simon Sayz, Elena Pinderhughes, and Conscious Reggae rapper, Damian Marley.

Lupe Fiasco – Kingdom Music Video

 The track ‘Drogas‘ has a very latin-inspired feel to it, while the track ‘Gold vs the Right Things to Do‘ has Fiasco rapping in a Jamaican patois accent. The first interlude is a simple yet equally emotional violin solo entitled ‘Slave Ship‘. You know, I can keep going on about this really long album, but I can say so much about it, I think it’s enough to say that it’s diverse enough to keep my interest for the entire twenty-four tracks. This is what I look for when I listen to an album. What is the point of having a five-track album but every beat and rhyming style sounds exactly the same? We like to hear something fresh every track, much like the playlist we listen to on random while transiting to work or college. Lupe Fiasco’s lyrical prowess is also on point for the entirety of the album. He may not fall under the top ten rappers, but he’s definitely in the top twenty in my books. Highly recommended 10/10.

One Love!

Stay tuned for the next edition and be sure to follow me at @stickykeys! Also if there are any albums you would like me to review, drop a comment below.

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