Enemy of the State: A Love Story
Though it clocks in at just over 22 minutes long, Lupe Fiasco’s Enemy of the State: A Love Story, proves that the Chicago MC has returned from his self-imposed hiatus—this is his first release since 2007’s sophomore effort, The Cool—with a renewed confidence. As he so aptly raps over Travis Porter’s “Turnt Up:” “Lupe got his mind right, nigga, this is my mic/And I’ve come to take it all back like Miller High Life.”
With no hint of rust Lupe demonstrates his lyrical dominance by ripping the melancholy production from Radiohead’s “Kid A,” on the opening track, “National Anthem.” He breathes some much-needed life into “Thank You,” one of the weaker efforts from Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3, and styles all over Jigga’s “So Ghetto.” His fiery freestyles over Lil Wayne’s “Fireman,” on the oddly-titled “Fireman (Yoga Flame)” matches Weezy’s flare on the original.
Though his relentless take-no-prisoners approach sounds a bit winded near the end, as evident in his underwhelming closing verse over Clipse’s “Popular Demand,” EOTS is still strong enough to stand among the best mixtape releases of the year. And his first few lines over Slaughterhouse’s rock-influenced single, “The One,” makes clear that this lyrical exercise was needed. “The game was lookin’ weak, the whole scene’s starved/So I came through with some Muscle Milk and protein bars/Barbells are jump ropes, Bowflexes to body it/And a couple Billy Blanks Tae Bo karate kicks.” —Chris Yuscavage