Lupe Fiasco: Lasers

If there was any reason to doubt that Lupe Fiasco would release his third album, the rapper has proven the disbelievers wrong with his latest project Lasers.

Bouncing back from a creative dispute with his music label, Atlantic Records, Fiasco told his fans at the album release party at Webster Hall in New York City on March 12 that “without Atlantic, Lasers would not have been possible,” even with overwhelming chants of “F**k Atlantic” from the crowd.  

According to, the rapper planned a series of “Fiasco Fridays” in Oct. 2010 so that fans could protest outside of the Atlantic Records offices and demand his album (long completed before the end of last year) to be sold. The label gave in. Fiasco proved his value as an artist before the album was officially released on Tues., March 13. He pocketed a million dollars in pre-sales by selling 30,000 units. The content of the album makes it worth the wait and every cent.

At first listen, Lasers is a hip-hop satire of the media and the government on the surface. Songs like “All Black Everything” and “Words I Never Said” showcase Fiasco’s  verbal punches to the news industry and politics for seemingly distributing convoluted messages to the public. Fiasco brings up figures like President Barack Obama and Glenn Beck, along with issues such as the war on terrorism. But after several playbacks, it’s clear that Fiasco is calling on his listeners to act on their beliefs: “Just listening to ‘Pac ain’t gon’ make it stop/ A rebel in your thoughts ain’t gon’ make it halt/ If you don’t become an actor, you’ll never be a factor,” he raps on “Words I Never Said.”

The theme of positivity ultimately beams throughout the album. In a business where rap music seems to encourage inter-artist dispute, Fiasco rarely calls out anybody in his album other than himself. “The Show Goes On” and “Beautiful Lasers” have already

become anthems for the underdogs he relates to.

Fiasco also flexes his potential to be mainstream with catchy songs like “Out of My Head” featuring Trey Songz and “Never Forget You” with John Legend. At the release party, Legend made a surprise appearance, even tweeting, “One of the best hip-hop shows I’ve seen in a while. Great energy, musicianship, execution.”

At its core, Lasers is Fiasco’s personal journey delivered through a perspective that can be shared by all. Those in attendance for Fiasco’s show could appreciate the diversity of his audience and his ability to transform his music into a movement.

One can argue that Lasers is a disappointment for old fans who expected Fiasco to continue making the music he was initially recognized for, but it would be unfair to discredit him as an evolving artist. Fiasco never sacrifices his lyrical genius on the album; he merely paints it onto beats that his listeners have not heard from him before. And if critics still signify Lasers as the beginning of Fiasco’s downfall, then a mistake never sounded this good.