Lupe Fiasco’s highly-anticipated fourth studio album, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1, drops today. The merits of this project will be greatly debated, especially against its early predecessor, but there’s no denying Lupe’s lyrical prowess and his penchant for tackling complex themes in his music, both of which reign true here. Through his verses, Lupe plays the role of both professor and storyteller, chronicling bits of history, shedding light on dark, and turning commonplace ideas on their heads.
Food & Liquor II has a history that stretches from America’s slave trade to the current economic crisis. Its stories come from Iraq, Pineridge, Somalia, Chicago’s westside and everywhere inbetween. He references lessons from James Baldwin and Trayvon Martin. These wide-ranging, yet interconnected narratives are all communicated through vivid imagery in his bars. Lupe’s lyrics illustrate his chosen themes and help tell the larger story of this album. These are the top ten lines from Food & Liquor II. —Nicole Otero, Rap Genius Editor