Lupe Fiasco has a bit of a calling card problem. Nobody really knows where to find the man these days.
Fiasco built his reputation alongside Kanye West as a Chicago-based "alternative" to gangsta rap, rejecting violence and sexism in his lyrics and making it big with a sweet hit about a skateboarding love affair. His inspirations ranged from West to A Tribe Called Quest, and with big corporate backing, his fan base exploded fast. Reviewers ate him up, too: HipHopDX called Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor "above and beyond anything heard in the last decade," and dozens lauded his 2006 debut as the one the best hip-hop albums of the 2000s. Reviews for Lupe Fiasco's The Cool continued in the same vein. The main thrust of all the praise was that Lupe was loved for doing something different in mainstream hip-hop.
Well, you can see the Meaning tab for the whole sordid story, but in the case of his third album, Lasers, which was delayed for years, a large dose of Lupe's beloved different-ness was lost in a sea of attempts at making top-40 hits (few of which, ironically, became top-40 hits). "Words I Never Said" stands out as a track that remains in the spirit of Lupe Fiasco's politically charged and verbally brilliant reputation. In the confused land of Lasers, "Words I Never Said" might be about as close to a calling card as it gets. With Mr. Fiasco, though, no one knows what the future holds.