Lupe Fiasco has been a hero to the Hip-Hop underground since he started dropping those 1st and 15th mixtapes and Chilly needed to be freed. He’s evolved as an artist possessing perhaps the most complete set of tools of any rapper in his generation, yet he still stands in limbo, with the release of his third album L.A.S.E.R.S. pushed back like the hairline of Kojack for a couple years, fans have to settle for morsels here and there with a couple guest spots and the odd released single.
If you are able to stretch outside of your rap boundaries, Lupe has actually been a bit busy. A few months ago he dropped an album with a group Japanese Cartoon, inspired by anime and Japanimation. Their EP, In The Jaws of The Lords of Death, is mostly a blend of Rock and Electronic rhythm, with high-paced delivery, and a Lupe weirdly possessed of a faux British Clock Word Orange-ish accent at times.
With a name like Japanese Cartoon, don’t you HAVE to have a video? Of course you do! The somber bit-bass minimalist beginnings “Heirplanes” explodes into Rock mania with mentions of dowries for Medusa, pistols and poisons and destruction and soundless fireworks. Lyrically, it’s still Lupe and that dense structure is always present but in this context he has a bit more room creatively. The video, directed by 13th Witness, is every bit as dark as the song, with forest imagery, the principals draped in darkness, and wolf-packing marauders led by Lupe in vampire-like formation hunting hapless campfire honeys. The visuals are hauntingly visceral with the victim being turned to the dark side and eventually hunting down a Samaritan.
The combination of song and scenery should be enough to satiate Fiasco fanatics. It is a step left but this video with the song absolutely works. “Heirplanes” is more than a suitable distraction while Atlantic ducks those laser shots. Enjoy.
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