A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this CD is filled with violent images, guns and death are a recurring theme, and the CD insert includes photographs of school children holding serious-looking weapons. Parents who don't want their kids exposed to songs about gang violence will be uncomfortable, despite the intelligent writing and thoughtful commentary.
What's the story?
Using provocative poetry with violent imagery, Lupe Fiasco has a way with words, knows his way around rhyme, and carries a unique and understated style. His commentaries on the stark realities of street life are intelligent, sobering, and scary. Throughout FOOD & LIQUOR, the lyrics sparkle with strong visual images and exquisite descriptions of moments in time. One of the most intriguing tracks is \"He Say She Say,\" about a kid growing up without his father's presence in his life: \"She said to him 'I want you to be a father/He's your little boy and you don't even bother.\" The haunting lyrics are enhanced with guest vocals by Gemini and Sarah Green.
Is it any good?
Although some of the tracks support Fiasco's poetry with lush arrangements, nearly all of them are repetitive and monotonous. These lyrics deserve more thoughtful and interesting instrumental support. "Pressure" is one exception, with sizzling rhythm tracks, terrific guitar work, and a jazz-infused, surprising arrangement.As good as he is, Fiasco isn't for everyone, and Food & Liquor is not a family album. There's a lot of visceral discussion of violence, occasional mention of drugs and drinking, and frank discussions of the darker aspects of life, love, death, and relationships.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of solving problems with violence. Are there other ways to work out differences? What is the allure of this kind of scary posturing? When is -- or isn't -- it necessary to be tough in order to survive? Is Lupe Fiasco engaging in valuable social commentary or opportunistic posturing?