The Cool

The Cool

by Lupe FiascoLupe Fiasco


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Fully understanding the details of the concept spread across The Cool, first introduced on Food and Liquor's "He Say/She Say" and "The Cool," may only happen after pointing a Lupe Fiasco decoder ring toward Chicago during the vernal equinox, but the synopsis is simple: a fatherless boy is raised by supernatural characterizations of the streets (named the Streets, not to be confused with Mike Skinner) and the game (named the Game, not to be confused with Jayceon Taylor), squanders his potential, becomes motivated by greed, turns to dealing drugs, gets caught up on a few levels. A key piece to understanding the details is "Pills," an "I Gotcha" B-side that can also be found on some non-U.S. copies of Food and Liquor and the MTV2 My Block: Chicago compilation. Coming from an ambitious MC who is only on album two and considering retirement due to various forms of dissatisfaction -- including what the actual streets and the actual game have done to hip-hop -- The Cool has a kind of set-up that may provoke some involuntary tedium preparedness. Lupe incorporates the hyper-expressive, pincushion-sensitive male rock voice wherever it is feasible. (The appearances that come from female voices are much more affecting.) Ditto modern quasi-symphonic soft rock, sometimes toughened up by pensive, churning guitars. Ditto dramatics laid on so thickly that they tend to take a turn toward the acutely melodramatic -- and on this album, strings and other drama signifiers are nearly as integral as the beats beneath them. Even considering the over-abundance of elaboration on all fronts, it's a credit to Lupe that he has made an album that cannot be processed after one or two listens, and if you have the time, its inscrutability turns into mere complexity. (And it turns out that, at the very most, only a third of the album is conceptual, even though it looks and initially sounds like it.) He is one of the most clever artists around, and as far as telling stories with rhymes goes, he's way up there, best exemplified by "Hip-Hop Saved My Life" (a gripping story about a struggling rapper) and "Gotta Eat" (where Lupe's inspiration for metaphors is a cheeseburger, yet it is no more corny than Main Source's classic "Just a Friendly Game of Baseball"). For anyone opposed to their own perception of Lupe Fiasco -- the always-thinking, always-plotting, uptight moralist brainiac, for instance -- The Cool will sound like meandering, overblown prog-rap that is far less tolerable than Food and Liquor. For anyone sick of hearing MCs who boast about themselves (which is akin to taking a stance against R&B songs about love, but whatever), The Cool will sound like a major artistic triumph. It's somewhere in between. [A clean version of the album was also made available.]

Product Details

Release Date: 12/18/2007
Label: Atlantic
UPC: 0075678995989
catalogNumber: 368380

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lupe Fiasco   Primary Artist
Chris Goss   Guitar
Josh Homme   Guitar
James Lavelle   Background Vocals
Richard File   Organ,Piano,Synthesizer Strings
James Book   Bass
Pablo Clements   Background Vocals
Graham Burris   Vocals

Technical Credits

Deodato   Composer
Chris Goss   Producer
Dave Pensado   Enhanced Recording
Darrale Jones   Executive Producer
Deborah Mannis-Gardner   Sample Clearance
Richard File   Programming
James Book   Programming
Pablo Clements   Programming
Patrick Stump   Composer,Producer
Livia Tortella   Marketing
Pooh Bear   Composer
Lupe Fiasco   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Vocal Producer
Veronica Alvericci   Marketing
Chris Allen   Programming
Nikki Jean   Composer
Bishop Grace from the Holy Land   Composer
Greg Magers   Engineer
Jason Salvador   Management
Soundtrakk   Composer
Brian Ranney   Package Production
Nathanael Cabrera   Art Direction
Tomiwa Aladekomo   Art Manager
Sydney Margetson   Publicity
Derrick Braxton   Composer,Producer

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The Cool 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a true hip hop CD with wide ranging flavor & thought provoking lyrics. If you are a fan of rap then you may not like this CD. IF you can't discern the difference between rap and hip hop, then you shouldn't be listening to either. Paris Tokyo is so lush, Put you on Game has to be one of the most grimy joints of the year and done without one swear word. Now that is true creative genius and real hip hop representing, Lupe is truly showing cats how it should be done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i sometimes am a lover of heavy metal and prog rock even southern rock and also classic funk and soul but i have a soft spot for rap as well. i never heard of lupe fiasco until this cold day in january/febuary when my brother puts this on and whoah. i liked the production better than the lyrics i am more of a production guy than a words kinda guy same with bruce springsteen. paris, tokyo, superstar and all the rest appeal to me because rap has a distinction of being egotistical but not here. this shows you that rap can be smart.
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