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Food & Liquor

by Lupe Fiasco

Released September 19, 2006 via 1st and 15th Entertainment / Atlantic Records

Reviewed September 30, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Kick, Push (71%), Daydreamin’ (34%), Hurt Me Soul (30%)

Lupe Fiasco’s name seems to have lost some of the weight it once held when it comes to contemporary hip-hop discussions. But when his debut dropped 15 years ago, he was a premier example of bringing conscious hip-hop to the mainstream. The juxtaposition of food—a necessity for growth—with the frequently harmful temptation of liquor, Fiasco focuses his musical efforts on addressing and combating issues that plague himself, his community, and larger society as a whole. Identity becomes a centralizing theme, as Lupe Fiasco focuses his lyrical exercise on authenticity, pushing for listeners to pursue their passions and dreams despite the negative pushback that they might draw. Poverty, discrimination—on the basis of race and/or religion—and the preconceived notions about how these circumstances should shape your personality are all pushed back by the Chicago rapper. While some moments come off somewhat preachy and condescending, Fiasco’s wit and incredible wordplay add to a plethora of smooth, soulful instrumentals, crafting a record that revitalized conscious hip-hop. – Dominick (8.5/10)

What separated Lupe Fiasco from the field ahead of his debut and breakthrough album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, was his multi-faceted approach to straddling the line between underground and mainstream success. Things would later change for Lupe, and it would eventually no longer be the case that he could conflate these two subcultures of hip-hop with ease. While the entirety of Lupe’s discography is checkered by inconsistency, you’d have never known it by the looks of Food & Liquor. It may be rap’s best debut album of all-time. Lupe is the son of a Panther, well-educated, and is able to straddle yet another important midline: Street and book smarts. Through a versatile sound, a complex display of Lupe’s diction, and the lived experience expressed in its bold messaging, the album became one of the most profound and exceptional in rap’s history. Given the cyclical nature of our universe, Food & Liquor will continue to compound its message against the state of the world for years and years to come. – DeVan (9.5/10)

What happens to people who are blessed with pristine vision and the gift of articulation? A 24-year-old Lupe Fiasco came with more mental fortitude than most on his debut record, Food & Liquor. The socio-political rap game has never seen a more polished and listenable expression, as Fiasco’s debut balances seriousness with a spiritually carefree attitude. To get a message across without skewing its impact is a rare ability. There isn't a creed or colour that could listen to Food & Liquor and feel like it doesn't speak for them. The album is an all inclusive scripture ranging from historical narratives on “American Terrorist,” to the coldest of cautions of the street life on “The Cool,” of which Lupe would name his sophomore album, released in 2007. 'Food' represents the good and 'Liquor' the evil; the yin and yang, and a see-saw of everyday existence. Food & Liquor is as universal a thought and law as any other. – Peter (8.5/10)

DeVán: 9.5/10 | Dominick: 8.5/10 | Hadley: 8.5/10 | Pax: 8.5/10

Peter: 8.5/10 | Cam: 7.5/10 | Jared: 7.5/10


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