As a Lupe fan, I feel that, for the most part, he can do no wrong musically. Just about everyone of his songs has a message (even the super poppy ones and the turn-up ones, as seen on DROGAS Light). On top of that, he’s managed to become and remain popular without doing a complete 180 on his subject matter. All in all, Lupe’s worst projects still tend to be better than some folks’ best work.
With that in mind, what about the album that is, possibly, the only real blemish on his track record, Lasers? Lasers, released in March 2011, is an interesting project, especially with its backstory. However, it seems that people, regarding the album that garnered a 57/100 on Metacritic, tend to fall into two camps regarding Lasers.
Either listeners just liked Lupe doing a more “traditional” album versus a real concept project or they disliked it because its sound. That sound, while still Lupe enough, did feel a bit too contemporary and interchangeable with other songs from the time. So, in honor of the album’s upcoming sixth-year anniversary, I want to delve deeper into the album. All the while, I wish to ask and answer an always-popular question.
“Was it really that bad?”
This was an album that said “hey, life may suck, but it gets better.” People weren’t used to “happy Lupe,” even if he was, behind the scenes, potentially suicidal over the pressure from his label for this release. And because “happy Lupe” took people off-guard, it’s quite possible that this album was doomed to be a blemish on Lupe’s record from the beginning. Why? Well, simply put, it’s not LupE.N.D. or like any Lupe album before it.
Overall, the album is not that bad. But, it’s not all that great, either. I’d listen to DROGAS Light in a heartbeat over Lasers, mainly because Lupe feels a lot more freed on DL than he ever did on Lasers. However, understanding some of the story behind it, I feel that Lupe put forth a valiant effort. And from its critical failures, we got stuff like F&L 2 and Tetsuo & Youth, albums that saw Lupe return to his roots, evolve them, and still remain true to everything. Therefore, to fully appreciate Lupe’s work and his discography, it’s still an album that deserves to be heard–even if it’s pretty poppy and pedestrian by Lupe’s standards.