The debut album by Lupe Fiasco is unlike most contemporary hip hop albums. Released in an era when snap and crunk sub-genres ran rampant. Having successfully fed the streets with the Fahrenheit 1/15 mixtapes, fans demanded the full course. So anticipated was the album that it leaked way ahead of schedule.

Lupe rises to the challenge and delivers a buffet of food for thought with double entendre-laden bars stuffed with the cleverness of a ghetto-raised youth and eloquent wordplay. The track “kick push” features a smooth and jazzy horn sample and the MC tells a story of a kid learning to skateboard as a metaphor of somebody struggling to find a way in life and love: “He said, ‘I would marry you/But I’m engaged to these aerials and varials/And I don’t think this board is strong enough to carry two’ “. It is as creative as it is well told.

Food & Liquor lacks the violent imagery and obscenity that is synonymous with most hip hop records. Jay Z contributes rhymes to “pressure”, Jill Scott adds a sultry vocal to “daydreaming”. The Neptunes deliver a piano-infused beat to “I Gotcha” and Ye mans the production helm for “the cool”.

Food & Liquor album cover

Though the record lacks a commercially powerful track, it, however, becomes an instant classic and is critically acclaimed with writers lauding the lyrical content on the album. The album received four nominations, including Best Rap Album at the 49th Grammy Awards. “Daydreaming” featuring Jill Scott won the Best Urban/Alternative song at the 50th Grammy Awards.

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2 Thoughts to “Food & Liquor”

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