Six years after “Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor,” it appears things have come full circle with his fourth studio album “Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt.1.” The album is lyrically quite well written, his voice flowing smoothly through different sonic landscapes. Fiasco moves steadily through a range of topics, from issues of American intervention and oppression inside and outside of our country in “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” to pleas for change directed towards youth to escape the streets and bring abut change in the community in (“ITAL (Roses)”).
Musically, the album is less ambitious than “Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool.” It’s easy to criticize the album as a repackaging of the themes from pervious records. Aside from a few songs, the beats are mostly comprised of electro synth lines with a heavy bass line on top of them, a different direction from the piano and orchestral beats of previous albums. That’s not to say that the music isn’t good—it’s just different. The beats are well crafted but sometimes feel as if they run into each other as multiple synth-based songs strung together without any breaks.
All in all the album is thought-provoking, and while critical of the world, “Food and Liquor II” is also evidence of Lupe’s own inner struggles and turmoil. If you’re a rap fan, give the album a listen: if you don’t enjoy it, at least it will get you thinking.