Lupe Fiasco Came Back The Right Way

First thing’s first: in a not-so-distant past life, I very well may have been one of those dudes out there getting ready to protest on Fiasco Friday, clamoring for Lupe Fiasco to get a release date.

So when his new single, “The Show Goes On,” came out last night, you better believe I clicked and listened right away. After listening, I was happy. I know that’s a pretty bland description, but that’s honestly how I felt.

And I’m still pleased this morning, after having now listened to it multiple times. Not just because it’s a new Lupe record, and whenever I get a new track by an artist I’m into, I’m generally excited. I just think the song is pretty dope and able to do what it needs to without sacrificing much.

First—and this is only first because it seems like the events in recent months have shown us it has to be—the song is one that the label has gotta be pleased with. It’s catchy. It’s sing-songy. It samples what was a huge hit. It should be able to hit on radio. It has a big-name producer (Kane Beatz) on the boards.

A while back, a track surfaced that was an original recording of what would become B.o.B.’s No. 1 hit, “Nothin’ On You,” but it had Fiasco spitting the verses, rather than Bobby Ray. I don’t know why it didn’t end up happening the original way, but it may have been a case where dude didn’t want to feel like he was sacrificing his artistry just to appease the label.

That’s why I’m pleased that I can say I felt like Lupe stayed true to himself with this one. I have no way of knowing if this is the case or if, in fact, he made this record completely to appease the label. But I really don’t think that’s the case, and it doesn’t feel like he’s selling out, or whatever you’d call it. I mean, the first verse might as well have named “Atlantic Records,” opening his verse asking, “Have you ever had the feeling that you was being had?” He added talk of “they treat you like a slave,” “don’t let nobody play me,” and “even if they ban us, they’ll never slow my plans up.”

The next two verses are full of some uplifting, positivity type talk—but that’s not necessarily a new approach for Chi-town Guevara. What’s more, it’s a welcomed angle in this current climate of hip-hop. All the while, he maintains his ability to be the lyrical dude that we know him for. Now, this song definitely is not on some “Dumb It Down,” “Shining Down” type level (do his most lyrically intricate songs have to have “Down” in the title?), but “The Show Goes On” still shows Lupe’s technical skills. And, technically or any other way you wanna cut it, he’s a beast.

What do you guys think? Does this feel like an organic Lupe Fiasco record, or like something he did because the label needed a single if we were ever going to get that Lasers album? Do you think it’ll be a hit? What did it do for your level of anticipation for his album? —Adam Fleischer

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  • Feenix

    I would agree. We need more positive hip hop out there right now. And lyrically smart rhymes. This song is definitely one that can (and will, I’m sure) be played on the radio, but it’s still Lupe. I’m really looking forward to Lasers.

  • killa

    definitly got that “finally home” feeling after years of absence… if that makes any sense.
    good to see lupe making a comeback and passing up that industry bullshit

  • No Name

    I think it’s a cool song regardless of what he’s personally aiming, for which is at this point less than likely being label approval. I think he just took a likable beat, rapped on it and no people are as usual reading too much into the situation. We wouldn’t ask whether or not Luda was trying to pander to “conscious” rap elitists with “Runaway Love”, right?

  • gaddic

    Just because a song is commercial doesn’t necessarily make it bad or crappy
    (Eg. Eminem’s “Cleanin out my Closet”)

    Good lyrics and substance make a rap song quality and this is what lupe did
    No classic but all-around decent single

  • O. From Da BLocK

    Push, Skate, KicK, on my Lupe’ shit
    Honestly I dont like Lupe’ shit
    Download O. from Da BLocK’s album Ofromdablockgsny ( Certifiable )

  • ShowTime NY

    Its seems like LUpe followed my advice which was the same advice I gave myself.

    I have to laugh cause when my man told me I should dumb it down, I said have you ever listened to Lupe! lol.

    And I hate Dumb it Down cause I wouldnt advise anyone to do that, Simplify is a better way of explaining it.

    Simplify it enough so that your target audience is not a small group who appreciate the brilliance of your skill.

    Yet do it in a manner where your not compromising your intergrity.

    And he did that with this single. The song is still lyrical its just easier to absorb.

    Most lyricist have this problem. But unlike most lyrcist who are super lyrical, Lupe always made great songs.

    Its just some of them werent that absorbable. (Is that a word lol)

    Im rooting for this brother.

  • wilson

    man shut the fuck up

    “Lupe followed my advice”,
    “the same advice I gave myself”,
    “my man told me I should dumb it down”

    great advice! nobody knows who the fuck you are.

    oh ya you forgot to tell us “banks told me ‘go head switch the style up. if they hate then let em hate, watch the money pile up.’”

  • Tim

    I think most of Lupe’s shit that has been mainstream has also been great. Kick Push, Daydreamin, Superstar, have all been mainstream songs that are also really damn good..

  • John

    Lupe wont sell shit. His music is just sooo boooring. He should do music which sells, like Gucci or Waka. Never heard any Lupe-Songs in da Club. Never heard any Lupe-Songs in da Hood. Damn Nigga you´re wack, you have no swag!

    • J Stylezz frm DC

      its niggas like you who demand these dumb ass pointless songs; that end up #poisoning hip hop. you probably miss his message every time you hear his tracks; cause your mind functions too slow to pick up on what he’s saying. the only thing you react to is shit like “drop it to the flooo an let me see that boooty rooollll”

      -ignorant niggas
      [build your mind faster]

    • T

      Your a clown homie. If you ever went anywhere besides the club or the hood you could appreciate Lupe’s music. Then again if think Waka Flaka is hot, you probably couldn’t comprehend the type of shit Lupe talks about.

  • caino

    ^^^^ And you think Lupe wants you to think he has ‘swag’?? and trust me waka and Gucci aint selling that much!!His music is boring as in you might need to think about what he is saying?? Dude you are a retard, go back and listen to that wack waka!! fool.

  • Chris S

    to asnwer the questions,

    1. i like it a lot
    2. i think it’s something they had to meet on halfway. it’s got a some “organic” lupe sound (like the flow he starts the second verse with). but you can definitely tell the sound is very mainstream…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
    3. i think it could be moderately popular. probably a little less than Superstar. i really think Shining Down would’ve done better if they pushed it.
    4. the 30 second snippet of Beautiful Lasers that came out last year is all i need to be excited for Lasers.

  • Joshua Heglin

    This is actually one of many much better reports connected with those that I’ve got continue reading this specific subject recently. Wonderful work.

  • Ali P

    He did both. The label wanted a more mainstream song, and he thought “If I’m gonna do mainstream, I’m gonna do it my way.”. He got a catchy mainstream beat, and he Lu’d it. So he did not sell out. He pleased Atlantic while staying true to himself.