Lupe Fiasco-Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)

Lupe’s back. The Friend of the People mixtape had a couple of outstanding tracks that hinted at a return to form, and this excellent first single from the upcoming Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album suggests he’s well and truly back on track.

Any hip-hop fan worth their salt will instantly recognise the production, sampling Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s legendary classic T.R.O.Y., and that instant throwback recognition sets you up well for the familiar and sorely missed sound of Lupe on form. The rest of the production needs no description: it’s simply one of the all-time great hip-hop beats, albeit a little ‘shinier’ and lacking the rough edge of the original.

In what is one of his most politically and socially charged rhymesets to date, Lupe takes the listener on a world tour of sorts as he documents and offers opinions on a range of global goings-on, demonstrating that passion, motivation and depth so sorely lacking from Lasers. The flows and wordplay are pretty solid throughout, switching through a couple of deliveries and dropping off some nice quotables throughout for a very well-rounded performance. This is about as good a lead single as Lupe could have gone for to get the hip-hop audience back on his side, and I’m thoroughly excited for more from the album. Sadly, this hasn’t hit iTunes UK yet, but keep a look out for it.

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