It's been close to three years since Lupe Fiasco's The Cool was released, a follow-up to his Grammy-nominated and universally-lauded debut from 2006 Food & Liquor. In the mean he's announced and abandoned as least as many projects as he's completed, including a novel, his group with Pharrell and Kanye West, Child Rebel Soldiers (recently resurrected for West's GOOD Fridays series), and a trilogy of records he called LupE.N.D.
Now the long wait nears its close. His long-anticipated, label-delayed third record, Laser, has been attached a release date, with a Modest Mouse-cribbing single in tow. What?
Brought into the mainstream by Kanye West, Lupe's sensibilities are eclectic and broad, and his use of the media practically nonexistent compared to his mentor. His ginger handling of his high profile belies a smart, cautious, and popularity-weary type of artist; as willing to move on to better things - like donating food around Thanksgiving (wonder if Kanye gave away free Fatburgers? ) - as to wrangle with a label. Which he doesn't have to any more, for now.
Rather than just sampling "Float On," producer Kane Beatz has cribbed the song's chorus melody and reworked its lead hook into a glimmering skitter, a horn-backed piece of celebration, transforming the song from a downtrodden piece of poptimism into a from-on-high cry of "fuck yes." Indeed, Lupe today referred to it as a cover. And while Fiasco's rhymes are never stale, if we hold him to his own gold standard then this song would miss the mark, skirting but not crossing the "oh shit" line. Scooting around the web, it seems that everyone's okay with that so long as it gets his goddamn album out already. The people are rabid: the song has gotten 1.4 million plays on Youtube since its release.
Lasers is set to be released on March 8th, 2011. Kanye who?
Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On"
Modest Mouse, "Float On"
And, in case you were wondering, here's what they sound like PERFECTLY SYNCED UP: