The Cool [PA]
Performer: Lupe Fiasco
Engineer: James Auwarter; Edmund Monsef...
Producer: UNKLE; Patrick Stump; Soundtrakk; Lupe Fiasco; Derrick Braxton; Chris Goss; Darrale Jones; 'Free Chilly'; Simonsayz; Le Messie; Al Shux; Greg "G Ball" Magers; Chris Paultrie...
Distributor: WEA (Distributor)
Notes: Personnel: Chris Goss, Josh Homme (guitar); Philip Shepherd (cello, electric cello); Richard File (piano, organ, synthesizer, programming); Cosmic (keyboards); James Book (bass guitar, programming); Dave Henderson (drums); Pablo Clements (programming, background vocals); Chris Allen (programming); Aidan Lavelle, James Lavelle, Soul Children of Chicago (background vocals). Additional personnel: Graham Burris (vocals); Sarah Green, Matthew Santos, Gemstones, Bishop G, Nikki Jean, Pooh Bear, Snoop Dogg, UNKLE. Building on the success of his acclaimed debut, FOOD & LIQUOR, Chi-town representative Lupe Fiasco returns with a concept-themed record, THE COOL. Evenly balancing intelligent lyricism, poetic symbolism, and catchy pop-themed production, Lupe's sophomore effort partially follows the story of the ghetto Everyman, the Cool, in his ever-changing relationship with the Streets and the Game. Still, it's not all high-concept here. Lupe also celebrates the spoils of superstar glamour on the catchy single, "Superstar," and the travel-fantasy track, "Paris, Tokyo," and enters more experimental territory with the help of British trip-hop act, U.N.K.L.E. on "Hello/Goodbye (Uncool)." THE COOL features production work from Soundtrakk, Chris & Drop, Patrick Stump, and Chris Goss, among others, as well as guest appearances by Sarah Green, GemStones, Pooh Bear, Nikki Jean, Bishop G, Graham Burris, Unkle, Matthew Santos, and Snoop Dogg.
Rolling Stone (p.62) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "THE COOL goes for softer, jazzier R&B hooks, yet the lyrics are even tougher in their street-level attack on hip-hop materialism." Spin (p.105) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The beats pulsate rather than bang, Lupe's voice dances in and out of shadows..." Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "Fiasco's wide-ranging pop instincts rarely fail him....It turns out randomness makes for a surprisingly unifying concept." -- Grade: A- Q (Magazine) (p.103) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his doesn't disappoint, adding emotional depth to his complex rhyming and heft to the productions..."
Representing the Windy City, rapper Lupe Fiasco is a friend and contemporary of hip-hop game-changer Kanye West. And like West, Fiasco offers an interesting alternative to the bling-obsessed thug rap that dominates much of mainstream hip-hop in the 2000s. A devout Muslim, Fiasco refrains from nearly all the typical indulgences of the rap lifestyle, and rhymes about diverse topics such as skateboarding, addiction to TV and other social ills, and the tenuous state of hip-hop in general. Though he is a somewhat left-field presence in the rap game, his fierce skills and commitment to the hip-hop community have garnered him the respect of a diverse and impressive list of peers.
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