When Lupe Fiasco
's Food & Liquor
first hit the airwaves (or, more accurately, the Internets, where the album was a monster success long before its official drop date), it was a revelation: So this
is what great hip-hop sounds like. Lupe's mic skills are unassailable, whether he's rhyming about his life on Chicago's rough West Side, his disappointment in the guns-drugs-'hos raps of other MCs or his unabashed love of skateboarding. His sound an excellent amalgam of street-corner beats and summery, shimmery instrumentals owes a debt to pioneering artists such as Nas and Kanye West, but overall Lupe's music is incomparable. That originality explains why Food & Liquor
made such an impressive debut; nearly a year after its release, the album remains fresh, vibrant and in constant rotation on the stereos of hip-hop heads. An opportunity to check out Lupe onstage seems almost too good to be true. But this is for real, friends, so get on it: It's time to go see one of the best MCs in the game.