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by
16 January, 2008@11:04 pm
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It is rare nowadays when you hear an album that actually makes you think, mainly in the aspect of conceptualizing an idea.  With his critically acclaimed debut album Food and Liquor, Lupe Fiasco touched on various subjects in such a creative and unique way that even if you did not own a skateboard you could still relate.  But don’t think that Carerra Lu is looking to continue in the same fashion. This time he digs even deeper into complexity with the dark and brilliant, but longwinded, The Cool.

The concept for this album is almost as abstract as the artist himself.  The Cool is used to expand on the title character from a track of the same name off his previous album.  The slain drug dealer Michael “Cool” Young History is further developed as the album discusses his rise and fall all as a result of taking up with the characters The Streets and The Game, respectfully represented by a scandalous vixen and a drug dealing/using pimp.  Their stories are told exceptionally well on the tracks “The Coolest,” “Streets on Fire,” “The Die,” and “Put You On Game.”  But two gems on this LP are “Paris, Tokyo,” a Native Tongue-ish tune that will surely numb some of the negative sentiment that came as a result of the 2007 VH1 Honors debacle and “Dumb It Down,” where Lupe throws a lyrical clinic over a cliché-suggesting hook with lines like, “Here you steer cause I shouldn’t be behind this/Clearly cause my blindness/The windshield is menstrual/The whole grill is road kill/So trill and so sincere/Yeah I’m both them there…”

The main problem with this album is that it is too long.  There are some tracks that could have been left off mainly due to a lack of cohesion with the overall tone.  Also, the sequencing is off in that the album begins with essentially two interludes and ends with “Go Baby,” a lackluster track that leaves the album ending incompletely.

Overall, The Cool is a superior project through its unique concept and ability to engage the listener.  It is sad that more albums are not like this, but hopefully this is a sign of better things to come. – Ryan Harrison

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