Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers is arguably the most anticipated album of 2011. It’s definitely the most hyped album of the year thus far…I don’t think anyone would argue with that. The controversy surrounding Lupe’s position with Atlantic Records and the fact that this was originally going to be the third and final release of his career both have fueled the hype tremendously (It’s no longer his final album). This past week articles surfaced detailing how he himself hates Lasers. According to him, several of the beats were given to him by people at Atlantic, refusing to release the album unless he did the provided songs.

“I had to create this commercial art that appeases the corporate side,” he told The Chicago Sun-Times. “I had to acquiesce to certain forces. Hopefully within that I snuck in some things I actually wanted to say any way I can.”

The controversy between the man and his label is worthy of it’s own book, and I’m sure you can find plenty of material on the topic elsewhere to entertain yourself. That being said, I’ll try to review the album without getting too caught up in the backstory.

For starters, Lasers is extremely different from Food & Liquor and The Cool. While not a complete 180 from his previous albums, there’s a much more club-oriented feel to this record. Techno beats replace the hard, gritty style of his earlier days on several tracks. I’m not trying to knock the new style, because I’ve been listening to the album nonstop…I’m just saying it’s definitely a different vibe than what we’ve come to expect from the Chicago native. “I Don’t Want To Care Right Now”, “The Show Goes On”, “Coming Up” and “Break The Chain” all have club-oriented beats and choruses, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’ve seen from him in the past. It’s cool though, because I’m into all of them. “Words I Never Said” is the lyrical masterpiece of the album, but we already knew that when it was released a few weeks ago. It’s a politically charged assault from start to finish that covers anything and everything you could think of.

The album is right up my alley, but if you’re fond of the Lupe of old, you might be thrown off a bit. The electronic/club side of the rapper is something we’ve never seen before, and it’s definitely the influence of the label analyzing this year’s chart trends. That being said, he’s still able to bring his high-powered lyricism to the table, which is something the label will never be able to take away.

Check out two personal favorites below, and pick up the album in it’s entirety on iTunes.

Lupe Fiasco – Till I Get There

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Lupe Fiasco – Coming Up (feat. MDMA)

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