Monday, August 27, 2012

Failure - Lupe Fiasco (unfinished)

Lupe Fiasco, real name Wasalu Muhammud Jaco, can be considered a prince of the modern hip-hop royal court.  Introduced to the world by none other than Jay-Z, Fiasco has changed his approach from the 'thug-life; get high; Money-Over-Everything' rappers of todays modern scene to a more graceful and educated form of lyricism.  Fiasco (who is a devout muslim) uses his words to preach tolerance and social justice, and has thus been donned a leader of the 'conscious rap' movement, which advocates anti-profanity, intellectualism and social consciousness.

In the song Failure, off the album 'The Cool', Lupe shows off his talent for witty lyricism, double (sometimes triple) entendres and clever punchlines.   Almost every line in his poetry has a double meaning or hidden message. The piece samples a track by Idris Muhammad called 'Could This Be Heaven', which was released in 1977.

Lupe received critical acclaim for this piece, having broken a 'record' for the most triple entendres in a single song.

Here is a line by line analysis of his words: (analysis in red)

It's mean, so just
Now let me put the streets down like steam rollers

Lupe starts off with a construction theme about tearing down the streets to rebuild them as his empire.  He embellishes this theme throughout the song

With the cats that push 40 ounces through the hood

Comparing drug dealers to 40 oz beer sales

Like king cobra, see me sling soda

King Cobra is a beer that comes in a 40 oz bottle

Cause the extra four in the split is mix

the drugs in this analogy is cut with 4 oz of something else

(It's really 36)

40 - 4 = 36 ; suggesting that there is really only 36 oz. of real booze in the 40 oz.
much like drugs are cut

Used to buy toasters and clips

What drug dealers buy with their profits (toasters are guns and clips are bullet clips)

You can tighten your circle or boa constrict

Another snake reference (King Cobra)

While you was lightin' your purple I was over the scripts

Lupe is a devote religious man; he states he was studying while others were smoking marijuana

See, I couldn't walk the walk

Couldn't really talk the talk

Had to get my talk to properly explain my walk

He needed to be able to explain his actions poetically, lyrically (and man, did he learn how!)

Cause this lack in talk had my walk lookin' off

Now I'm over the limp

At a younger age Lupe could not 'walk-the-walk' or 'talk-the-talk'

Watch how they mugs drop when they see my Verbals able

(that's the Usual)

Reference to 1995 film 'The Usual Suspects', in which the main character, who walks with a limp, goes by the name Verbal

Later in the film Verbal drops his mug in slow motion and looses his limp (hence the previous lines)

When I was po' I was low,

When Lupe was poor he owned Polo shirts

Now me and my chops cop purple label

Now he is rich so he rocks that Ralph Lauren

It's Ralph Lauren on the rap noreat?

Nigg*s brown-nose, they are like alf to him

Alf had a brown nose....duh.

Runners and interscopers not as styled as him

Please don't interscope

It's gonna be a whole lotta IV-ing and respiratin'

If I lean out this window with Irene

Nigg*s as tall as Yao Ming

Will LUP emperor 

It's the foundation, I-beams and the antennas

It's so sears-ious every time I write my john hancock

Sears tower verses the John Hancock building

Like, you could damn near see Detroit (I see you)

Nigg*s is scared of heights (see you)

This is saran wrap and aluminum foil

Some potpourri a little machine oil

I stack my paper and throw off my cents

This is top flo', better look out below

Pennys from heaven is the same as a semi from the sect

And I reign supreme

(reign; rain)

Turn your umbrellas upside down

Did you even catch the change in theme?

This is were Lupe shows his real genius.  At this point the lyrics have changed from the 'construction/ 

building blocks' theme to a 'skyscraper empire' theme.  During the first verse Lupe has climbed out of 

the streets and now sits on the top floor, raining (reigning) pennies (change in theme) down on what he 

has built.

(this is gangsta)

Lupe to the F to the I to the A to the S to the C to the O

From the west side of the C to the H to the I CA to the G to the O

(this is gansta, man)

This is gansta, man

Lupe Fiasco; from the west side of Chicago

Verse 2

And them nigg*s ain't watch

Known from him regime, gangsta lean

Hats on tilt like his sneakers ain't drop out the vending machine

You gotta put more money in

And I shake nigg*s up everytime I drop a bar

It's horse in the Porsche, bricks in the box 

Like more money them every time I cop a car

You see I'm a roller, right?

So it might be a rover, right?

But every time I drop a 'r' get off the streets

It's over, aight?

drop the 'r' from rover = over

Better being ahead like overnight

Like rollers, right, she the chauffeur, right?

So I keep her sober

She don't get fed-ex like overnight

I am dole the might

All that gas can't help, but Solar might

So just call on son (sun)

Drop a 's' pick up a 'o', you know (u no) , put it all on one (uno)

Then brace yourself like overbite

For that quiet nigg* that relocated down south

Comin' back to floss, nigg* get your molars right

Fix your grill

No plaque but a whole lotta cheese

This the drill, mr. Chill gave me the green light 

Like yo the knife

So ima force my will like the force I will

Of course you will

Take my time but wait behind only pertains to that Porsche grill

It's snakes in the hood, gotta watch for that cobra bite

Let me see, there's snakes in the hood

A bird, a horse behind the grill 

Some gator on the seat and a fox behind the wheel

No it's not noah's ark (ark), It's just a flower's start 

This is Lupe to the F to the I to the A to the S to the C to the O

From the West side of the C to the H to the I CA to the G to the O

Verse 3

For achiever, my procedures proceed at all cost

With no breather

I'm all walk, rain, snow, a fever

I'm all coughs, comin after your teacher

I'm on the ball like FIFA, Feva, Lupe, Diche, 

Long live the leaders

I remember I ain't have sneakers, it was welfare

Comin' up for air like whales there

Fila's, but now I'm well here 

I'm Shamu with twelve pair 

And nigg*s wanna take me back to zero like tear, fair

Well, my scale's clear

Your 'see' world is Braille here

I'm Bumpy Johnson, I stick to the streets

Keep my dawgs out in front of me 

See what I'm sayin'? and I push keys wonderfully