Label: 1st & 15th, Atlantic
For as long as he’s been in the public eye, Lupe Fiasco has been a polarizing figure. To some, he’s open and adamant about his beliefs, and is a mesmerizing lyricist. To others, he’s a self-righteous soundbite, and loses listeners with his overly complex rhyme schemes. His fifth solo album, Tetsuo & Youth, may not be so divisive, though.
The Chicago native has said he’s staying away from social and political commentary this time around, and the project—which he’s compared to his first album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor—is set to feature Chris Brown, Big K.R.I.T. and Rick Ross, among others. Whether or not he truly tones down his commentary (and, honestly, we hope he won’t) a return to F&L form would be nothing to scoff at. —Adam Fleischer