At 12:34 CT, Lupe Fiasco premieres #1234 — one day, FL2, 3 videos, on the 4th of July. "Lamborghini Angels", "ITAL" & "Audubon Ballroom" — all in the 12 minutes seen above.
UPDATE: Some thoughts. Firstly, watch the video first before reading about it below! Watching this without knowing what to expect makes the ideal experience.
So that said, I came away from "#1234" thinking I just watched a well-presented work of art. I loved the structure that got revealed with each song — the video of "Lamborghini Angels" being watched by the young children in "ITAL" and then the observation of that by a group of different types of people in "Audubon Ballroom". I love when visual art is recursive like that, so that first moment of "ITAL" when that became the case was when my interest went up a notch.
I suppose my interest waned a little during "Lamborghini Angels" because of the one critique I have of the video: the use of a kaleidoscope effect. Visually, I've never been a fan of it, like on Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream cover, or especially in the tacky "N****s In Paris" video. Having a kaleidoscope in your hands is a different story, but it doesn't translate that well to me in video. So while I didn't vibe with the way the video was presented initially, I also realized after second viewing that the kaleidoscope effect was a great way to present the issues Lu talks about in "Lamborghini Angels", like following a materialistic lifestyle or using religion as an excuse to sin. So that said, no beef with the end product. After all, it's Lupe and director Alex Nazari's true vision. Plus, this presentation made the quick text messages even more impactful, which is worth noting to not turn your head from the video for one second because you'll literally miss them.
Moving onto "ITAL" is when the songs take new meaning and connections. I believe Lupe was making a statement on racism with the cop arresting the young African-American child and then the Caucasian child stepping in to watch an orchestra (and not the "Lamborghini Angels" video) and then eventually the news (which Lu has long had criticisms about). The conclusion being metaphoric in two ways: there is racism still alive in today's society and that the youth are being influenced by the ills in the "Lamborghini Angels" video (money, guns, women) with the arrest acting as the foreshadowing of what happens to the youth who follow that path. Those are my basic observations, but I can't help but feel there's more to it. What do you all think?
And finally, with "Audubon Ballroom" (my favorite song of the three), the lasting image will undoubtedly be the KKK Guy dancing during the hook. I couldn't help but share the likely reaction amongst us all of, "Wow. What is going on here?" Lupe's cameo as The KKK Guy at the end certainly becomes the next lasting image as the *wink* certainly intends to drive home his message.
Plus, isn't it cool to see the song's artwork come to life after so long?
However, the *wink* as The KKK Guy is where I'm most unsure of what Lupe intends to convey. I do think he's at least saying that we, as one, can do better and help save the youth. "Audubon" acknowledges the current and changed meanings of "n****" while also celebrating black history. Now thinking of the song in context to the previous songs and videos, I think "Audubon" has an even deeper meaning. This exact idea is why I like music videos that push the envelope and act as a visual extention of the song. And believe it or not, the majority of music videos in hip hop don't come close to doing so, and lack this type of added depth (that's just a side comment on music videos in general.)
So to conclude — let's discuss! What conclusions do you draw about the songs, the structure of the video, and Lupe's overall message? The video is very unique and clearly a multi-layered statement, mixed with new complexities and connections between the three songs off Food & Liquor II. Leave it to Lupe to give no excuse for a mental exercise on the holiday, ha! Happy 4th!
In a keynote address to some 150 recent high school graduates during the 2013 Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood Ceremony Saturday, hometown hero Lupe Fiasco expressed his congratulations as well as some characeristically strong sentiments.
"You have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world," Lupe said, in an effort to put an otherwise joyous occasion into perspective. "You have just spent the last . . . 12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth."
Lupe is no stranger to the harsh reality that is growing up as a disenfranchised youth in Chicago, and with his bold statements, he was looking to send a clear message to the graduates.
"[Manhood] is one the last things that we have . . . and one of the last things that we can control. Manhood is connected to humanity.”
On the bright side, Lupe pledged $100 to each of the 150 graduates in attendance at the event. Let's hope this, combined with some honest and heartfelt sentiments, will make a difference for some of them.
Last night, Lupe Fiasco gave hip hop fans even more of a reason to look forward to tomorrow, July 4th, as if a certain Magna Carta Holy Grail isn't enough. Lu has been tweeting about releasing 3 new videos off Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part I recently, but now set the date. "Lamborghini Angels", "ITAL", and "Audubon Ballroom". I'm most excited for the visuals to Lambo and Audubon. Not only two of my favorites off the album, but two songs conceptually that can go a lot of ways for a video. Plus, perhaps all three videos will center around a continuing theme? Whatever the case may be, it's not often we get three new music videos from the same artist in one swift release, so I'm lookin' forward to this time tomorrow for two reasons now (OK, three — MCHG, #1234, and the fact that it's July 4th! Always a fun holiday, so let's enjoy the day people!).
The feature that may raise your eyebrows: Lupe Fiasco. Here he links with Wale & Rick Ross for the first time for the second release off MMG's upcoming album, Self Made 3, today. Quality rhymes, not only from Lupe, but Rozay and Wale as well for a lengthy 5 minute song. Wale's verse was the shortest in fact, and with Ross performing the first verse and the hook as well, "Poor Decisions" feels more like a Rozay featuring Lupe & Wale track.
Regardless, it's Lupe who still steals the show. His middle verse goes extra long and he switches up his flow halfway through to spit faster. He flips the song on its end in the outro as well, "How bout poor n*****z make rich decisions?". It's a *Tibs Fav. for Lupe's contribution alone and while I'm not really a Rozay fan, he delivers as well. I do think the beat and hook may feel more repetitive with more listens, but for hip hop fans, this one's a must-listen.
Catch up on all the new releases today and recently below!
Yahoo just recently acquired Tumblr for a whopping 1.1 BILLION DOLLARS, but thats just a fraction of the cost of what Wall Street Journal News Corp bought MySpace for ($580 Million just in case your were wondering). Yahoo vows to not ruin the free spirited site like how WSJ ruined MySpace, but lets see how this pans out.
Even though I hadn't touched my own tumblr in months, I had to log in and browse the site while its still good and I found this amazing site. Rappers looking like Magicians.
Rappers and Magicians just seem too obvious and too easy... why haven't I seen this sooner?!
Will Smith and his beautiful show girl, Jada Pinkett... thats too easy.
Never before have so many magicians been assembled together at one time. The Doggfather, The Hammerman, The Magnificent Makaveli, and their lovely assistant, Sugar Bear. Classics. - via Magical Rappers
We're proud to bring you the premiere of Lupe Fiasco's newest track "Animal Pharm"!
Hip Hop fans, you're in for a treat. Lu himself just slid this over and a few listens in, I gotta keep runnin' it back. The wordplay is simply amazing and it's quick to see where the title comes from. Back with more commentary in a min!
UPDATE #1: "Animal Pharm" is over Atoms For Peace's "Ingenue" (below) and correllates to "Animal Farm" — the George Orwell book. Man, I remember reading that as a young'n. Now to dissect the lyrics...!
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Atoms For Peace "Ingenue"
Atmos For Peace:
Thom Yorke (Radiohead... vocals, guitar, piano)
Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers... bass)
Nigel Godrich (Radiohead... keyboards, synths)
Joey Waronker (Beck & R.E.M. ... drums)
Mauro Refosco (Forro In The Dark... percussion)
UPDATE #2 — The lyrics. Took a crack at 'em to fully understand the song. Drop a comment with any corrections on the lyrics!
Quiet as a kitten,
Reply as silent as a Rafael given instrument for stickin
Or maybe riot as a lion,
Would he tie in tiger for attention?
Tiggers and Poohs, n*****s in jewels,
Mr. Opulent, Christopher Robin's in too
When that predetermined term expires on that turtle's life,
What of Korea, are you scared?
Or is something not there, like a Welsh rabbit full of hairs,
Animal farms and imaginary bears,
The body is a house like a kangaroo pouch
Or a oyster-hoisted cow over crescent moons as it looms low in the night sky
Platoons of coons stand ready for the driveby
Steady as the medley booms from the Akai
Affirm as in aye aye
Like it the second
Like a junior, like a third, like a eye
Like I observe from the view of a bird as I fly high
Sittin' heavy like spaghetti in the belly of a wise guy
Who let these G's out the pi-sty? (pigsty, get it?)
Seems I'm takin cues from The Wire
OK, decorum and keepin you from wanting to buy it
But you still buy it like you never left its sight
Like a slow gun fight a gun, unfired
Cow dung walls, hermit crabs in the mall, sting ray from the stars, and barn yard laws.
[Chorus] — Atoms For Peace (+ Lupe ad-libs)
The seeds of the dandelion you blow away.
(I got thumbs, that don't mean everybody dumb, huh huh?
Just 'cause I got one, that don't mean that they not dumb, what what?)
In good time I hope, I pray.
Quiet as a mouse in the house of God,
In the jaws, like Terrence in the mouths of mobs
Rippin at the pieces like a picture and the preacher
If a cricket was a speaker, it's its own chicken bones on the garbage can top
Ugly mother freakers, it's predator opposite on top of it don't make it fox
So if similar appeal administer the seal to make it real
Elephant time but never mind
Half ton gorillas in admittance, you'll never find
Hungry as a hippopotamus, gobble it til your bottom in your body is as wobbly as Skrillex
Eeyores and piglets, blind bats nailin tails to a riblet
Time only limited-ed if you make it
Blind rats nails hold tails of unseeing eye selves
Eye (Out?) is out so they only seeing thy shells
Ghost Dog.. Oh Lawd..
[Chorus] Atoms For Peace (+ Lupe's ad-libs)
(Hey they not dumb,)
The seeds of the dandelion blow
(I ain't smart just cause I got thumbs whaaat
I hope, I pray.
(Hey, hey, just cause I got one,
That don't mean I'm better cause they got none, say whaat
Wh-wh-whaaat, say what wh-what)
The butcher says to the bovines
You're all just pastrami when it's show time
Cowboy co-signs, attack the cat samples
Own worst enemies, chop down the trees we need the ax handles
Like a heal in a sandal sayin, "Hell no!"
Or you trapped like the yells of a nail on the shelltoe
Clever as a fishbowl on a sailboat
Land locked as a ham hock on a railroad
Sandbox by the swimming pool
Two times as clever as a fishing school
Pills for the pressure, broken seals on the pills for the pleasure
If you feelin ill, whatever
Animal farm, you're all dumb
Tickle 'em with your articulated thumb,
A tape worm will never play the drums, but um...
These are... These areeeee
[Chorus] — Lupe ad-libs
Hey, hey just as I got one
That don't mean I'm smart cause they got none
Whaat-wh-what, wh-what what
And I'm not an animal cause I got thumbs, that don't make me smart cause they got none
Say whaat wh-what, wh-what
Here we come
And I'm not an animal cause I got thumbs, say whaat? Say what, say what?
+ full Atoms For Peace Chorus
The seeds of the dandelion you blow away.
In good time, I hope, I pray.
If I'm not there now physically,
I'm always before you
Come what may..
UPDATE #3 — my thoughts. Vintage Lupe, plus a fresh form of lyrical greatness.
"Vintage Lupe" because it's a record that takes multiple listens, a bunch of Google and Wikipedia tabs open, and then more listens to dissect. "A fresh form of lyrical greatness" because "Animal Pharm" is a new way that Lupe has expressed his overall ideals and commentary — through embodying the theme of a book written decades ago onto an analysis of society today. My summary of the track: "Animal Pharm" plays off the theme of the George Orwell novel 'Animal Farm' (the book's summary is a must-read to help understand the track) to illustrate how today's world has become what Orwell illustrated — a society where "All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others" — and people from government leaders to corporations to perhaps the flip side like activists are all "more equal than others".
I think Lupe's making a commentary on how misled we are while also being our own worst enemies. I also interpret a connection to the sample: Atoms For Peace's chorus in "Ingenue" means that there is a fleeting hope for the love, and in this case, perhaps Lupe means that there's hope for us as a society to break through and become more aware of our tendencies to become what it is the problems we complain about. "Who let the G's out the pi—sty?" (pigsty: reference to Orwell's book, where the pigs would stay)
Lu's utilized a sampled chorus for a different meaning than what it's original stands for before (the flip of Diddy-Dirty Money's "Angels" and even the intention of Skylar Grey's hook for "Words I Never Said" comes to mind), and while that's amazing in its own right, I'm marveling at how he personified Orwell's Animal Farm into a deep, thought-provoking set of rhymes. What do you guys think of Lupe's latest lyrical gem? How do you interpret his intention with "Animal Pharm"?
I can't let this one go without mentioning the fun references I liked a lot, starting with two separate Winnie The Pooh allusions ("Tiggers and Poohs" and "Eeyores and piglets") because growing up I was always with my Pooh Bear. Like Derrick Rose, I was also called "Pooh" by the family at times, hah! But also, slick name references to The Wire and a simile to Skrillex. And I wonder in the line before that who Lupe means by the "half-ton gorillas in admittance, you'll never find" — and more of the singular lines in each verse — so perhaps Lupe himself can fill in the gaps?! In the meantime, let's go further in it together! Drop your comments with what you think Lupe means with "Animal Pharm" in general or line by line!