It’s tough to think of a rapper that is more underrated with the same skillset and extensive catalog as Lupe Fiasco.
Whether it be classic albums like 2006 and 2012’s Food & Liquor I and II or recent artistic and storytelling masterpieces like 2015’s Tetsuo & Youth and 2018’s DROGAS WAVE, Lupe has been raising the bar higher with each release.
Now, we have been gifted another elite rhyming and poetic exhibition from the Chicago wordsmith in DRILL MUSIC IN ZION, his new studio album released at midnight on June 24.
As the album title alludes to, Fiasco bridges the tangible elements of street culture and aggressive music in Chicago with the spiritual connections he feels to his hometown on the album.
Heading into the project, Lupe had been operating on another level. Just about a week before the release, he dropped the title track for the album on June 16, which serves as the eighth of 10 songs in the track list. This second promotional single is a smooth, jazzy cut that sees Lupe’s echoed vocals set the tone with a solemn batch of bars.
The entire project is produced by Soundtrakk, Lupe’s essential in-house producer, who he has worked on for hits like “Superstar,” “Paris, Tokyo,” “Kick, Push” and more, as well as collaborating with him for their two-pack of singles TAPE TAPE in 2020. “Soundtrakk is the swordmaker, I’m the samurai,” Lupe commented. “He’s the mechanic, and I’m the driver.”
DMIZ‘s first promotional single “AUTOBOTO,” which is the second song on the track list, came out in May. With a slick hook about not needing anybody to rely on and feeling as powerful as a Porsche Carrera, Lupe’s bars are as focused and effortless as always.
Reporting live from the hive and all sides of the sludge
One deep meditate, one street separate
“Hi” to the Crips, “Goodbye” to the Bloods
But it was the Souls, Lords and GDs
Segregated by the street in the Chi’ where I was“AUTOBOTO” — Lupe Fiasco featuring Nayirah
Reflecting the message conveyed on the song, the visuals for “AUTOBOTO,” released on July 7, see Lupe cruise late at night in a Porsche Carrera. This is the only song so far from DMIZ to be given the music video treatment.
After lyricism regarding the Chicago gangs that surround him and his unshakable confidence in himself, the track transitions into an elegantly sung outro of the chorus by Nayirah — capping off an impactful introduction of the subject matter on DRILL MUSIC IN ZION.
Amid the album’s release, Fiasco also lended his voice to Apple Music’s Juneteenth “Freedom Songs” playlist, offering an original track titled “Galveston.” Additionally, the esteemed wordsmith is set to start teaching his own course on rap at Massachusetts Institute or Technology (MIT) in Boston later this year — further proving his influence and acclaim in music is as priceless as his pen.
Now that the full serving has finally arrived, check out ‘DRILL MUSIC IN ZION’ by Lupe Fiasco below!