I Present To You… The Cool
I know I know, it’s been a while since my last post, but school is picking up and every once in a while you have to pick up a book and figure life out. I’m like the Tim Duncan of schoolwork: I coast a bit through the regular school year (regular season) and then step up my game for national TV appearances (projects and midterms) and bust my ass in the playoffs (exams). Unfortunately I took this saving my energy a little too seriously and I have to pull myself out of Eddy Curry mode before it’s too late. Enough NBA humour for now though, let’s get into this past week’s show.
I started the show off with a couple of J’s (no, not those J’s fool) in J. Cole and Jay Electronica. You know my love affair with J. Cole already, but Jay Electronica is someone else worth looking out for. It’s hard to really get a feel for him when he hasn’t put out a full album in his career yet, but the Roc Nation signee has some seriously good stuff in his discography if you take the time to find it. His flow is ridiculous and you can tell he puts his heart into all of his work. I understand how people can want a new mixtape or track every couple weeks, but I prefer quality over quantity. For the sports fans out there, would you prefer 3 or 4 awesome years of, say, Yao Ming, or 18-20 years of Juwan Howard? (I’ll stop with the basketball references soon…. maybe not. This Rudy Gay trade is messing with my head. In a good way)
Going along with the quality over quantity theme, my main feature on this week’s show was a Lupe Fiasco song called “The Cool.” This has long been one of my favourite songs because of the extra work that Lupe put into the whole concept of the song that a casual fan might have missed. This song spawned a whole album a couple years later, and Lupe created a cast of characters that went through a series of events leading up to this song. Seriously, read this and then go back and listen to “The Cool” album and then the song off Food & Liquor and tell me you don’t have a different perspective on Lupe’s work. His first two albums remain some of my favourite music to listen to.
Unfortunately, his later work has not lived up to his first couple albums and mixtapes. In this sense, he is the Allen Iverson of hip hop. Hear me out on this: Lupe started off young as a ‘gansta rapper’; AI got in a fight at a bowling alley that led to a 15 year prison sentence which was eventually reduced. Lupe reinvents himself and comes flying out the gate on Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky”; AI kills it at Georgetown and is drafted first overall in the NBA Draft. Lupe releases Food & Liquor and is voted by GQ breakout of the year; AI wins Rookie of the Year. Lupe releases a few solid mixtapes and the critically acclaimed album The Cool; AI wins a couple of scoring titles and the 2001 MVP, leading his team to the NBA Finals. Lupe doesn’t drop anything for a while after his latest album; AI and the Sixers exit the playoffs early for the next few years and his coach gets fired. Lupe releases Lasers, a pretty horrible studio album that Lupe himself admits he didn’t like; AI clashes with teammates and coaches, we talkin ’bout practice man. Lupe gets all political with the #Occupy movement, releasing the politically charged We Are The People mixtape; AI finally pisses the Sixers off so much they trade him to the Nuggets. Lupe releases Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, but it wasn’t that great; AI gets traded to the Pistons, does nothing of value, eventually is out of the league. Lupe gets kicked off of Obama’s inauguration concert; AI can’t land a job in the NBA still. (Wow, that worked better than I thought it would when I thought that up 15 minutes ago).
Point being, sometimes the greats fall off after a very promising start, but this shouldn’t take away what the accomplished at their career apex. That’s all from me for today, tune in next Monday at 9pm-10pm to hear some more from me in real time! As always, my Facebook page is Verses From The Abstract and I’m on Twitter @t_rev91.