Lupe Fiasco is back with album number eight, DRILL MUSIC IN ZION, and he hasn’t lost a step. According to his twitter feed, he recorded this project himself “from scratch” over the course of three days using GarageBand and a $100 USB microphone.
It didn’t hurt that he was able to float his complex lyrics over a formidable collection of, mostly smooth, beats from his longtime collaborator Soundtrakk, who produced past Lupe tracks such as “Superstar,” “Kick Push,” “Dumb It Down,” “Sunshine,” “Paris, Tokyo,” and “Hip-Hop Saved My Life.”
THE LION’S DEEN
The album starts off with “THE LION’S DEEN,” a poem from Lupe’s sister, Ayesha Jaco, and she, once again, shows us that Cool-hand Lu isn’t the only one in the family that has a way with words. She talks about, “drill music, pop that pill music, kill music,” while encouraging the people to “drill” deeper until they “Manifest the new world that Columbus thought he found/ Ban together to reverse the weather/ To unite the seeds of the oppressed/ Stand together and work righteously to be blessed/ For generations to come/ Drill down, Zion is in you. ”
The rest of the record is filled with quotables and potent observations on everything from the fact that: “Rappers die too much/ That’s it, that’s the verse” (ON FAUX NEM), to the very human costs that come about from the value we place on consumerism (KIOSK).
“MS. MURAL” is the third installment of a series that started with “Mural” from Lupe’s Tetsuo and Youth album and continued on “Mural Jr.” (from the Drogas Wave album). This song finds the artist wrestling with the fickle, exploitive nature of the art world;
DRILL MUSIC IN ZION
“Professionally accept what ethically I hate/ So in all of my work you see this wrestling with faith/ Deceiving in the brushstrokes how aggressively I strafe/ Less like putting on some makeup, more like severing a face.”
He even compares a posthumous album to a life insurance policy. Lupe often displays a depth that is rare even amongst the best lyricists and he keeps the music catchy, cathartic, and above all else provocative, which is easier said than done.
He only hints at the style we’ve come to know as drill music on the hook of “AUTOBOTO.”
“I defend myself in court, this is sport
I get signals from the source
I can twist and I contort
I just feel like I’m a Porsche
I’m Carrera, era-era-era-era-era-era
His rhymes start at the street level then expand to ask some important questions about humanity’s future:
“Why buy a tub when they bayou’ll a flood?
Better buy you a sub
How you gonna survive in the club?
You gonna kayak it cuz, when it rise up above
And the waves come in push
And the tidals are shoved
What’s a infrared dot to a whole dot gov?
Look right in the eyes of a thug
Little dumb street shit don’t apply to the plug.”
DMIZ (meant to be pronounced demise?) is only 41 minutes long but that’s enough time to satisfy his long-time fans and hook some new ones. I think I’m gonna have this on repeat for a while.