Lupe Fiasco – Enemy Of The State: A Love Story [Mixtape Review]

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What does Lupe Fiasco have to do to get some props in Hip Hop?

That’s the question many of his faithful following ask whenever the name Lupe Fiasco and the phrase “Best rapper in Hip Hop” are in the same sentence. Two critically acclaimed albums in, which warranted praise from some of the greats, he has yet to win over the majority of rap fans. With the Lasers LP set for a 2010 release, what could Lupe do to score a few more points from the Hip Hop crowd? Simple – return to the mixtape scene which allowed him to reach the position where he could be discussed as a Hip Hop great.

Enemy of The State may not describe Lupe’s position within the scene (most rap fans have a similar idea of who the “enemies” within Hip Hop are) but regardless of the title, Lupe Fiasco delivers 12 freestyle tracks, taking popular songs and adding his own touch to them. With the first track borrowing Radiohead’s “The National Anthem” instrumental, Lupe highlights his diverse style goes right down to his beat choices. With his Go-Go-Gadget flow in full effect, Fiasco attacks the track relentlessly, referencing his stance in Hip Hop and the state of the genre itself.

Switching between classic beats such as Jay-Z’s “So Ghetto” to the latest offerings including the Timbaland and Drake collabo, “Say Something”, Lupe Fiasco’s verses remain sharp, mind-bending and wit filled, which gives the mixtape added value in terms of having to re-listen to tracks in order to gage the full understanding of his lyrics. But his choice of beats turns out to be a stumbling block on Enemy Of The State. Whilst “Say Something” and Dirty Money’s “Angels” are current, freestyles over Lil Wayne’s “Fireman” and Jay-Z’s 2000 cut further date the tracks rather than adding new life to them, making it difficult at times to listen thoroughly to his immersed wordplay.

Lupe Fiasco’s Enemy of the State is more of a love letter than a love story. This mixtape serves as a reminder to old fans of the immense talent the 27 year old Chicago native has to offer. Ignoring the odd beat choices, Lupe Fiasco still remains one of the top emcees (ignore the recent MTV polls) as each word and sentence remains precise and imaginative. Whilst many fans often choose to pass Lupe by in favour of “dumbed down” lyricists, those who enjoy dissecting a good 16 bars will definitely be kept busy with his metaphors on EOTS, at least until his third studio album emerges in 2010.

Reviewed by Henry Yanney

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