Artist : Lupe Fiasco
Album : DRILL MUSIC IN ZION
Label : 1st and 15th
Release Date : 6/24/2022
Location : Chicago, United States
At the genesis of the song we are lured by keys that mirror the eerie enchantment that beckons us toward a work of art aesthetically but also hints to that which is beyond the surface, that part of art that when engaged with, can annihilate one’s preconceived notions and worldview. The drums and bass drop, solidifying the ride, setting us in its groove as the questions begin.
The inquiries of the patron illustrate the thin lines and gradations between innocent curiosity and criticism that are tethered to the concept and position of the spectator, the buyer and seller of musical and artistic hard work, who instead of digging deep to bring back beautiful melodies and colors, plays the judge, often turning creative effort into spectacle and matters of uneducated and unearned opinion.
The painter, like Lupe himself. Is a master of expression. The difficult and unknown places within that are feared by most is where the true artist lives and due to under thinking, over thinking and dismissal of the complex, is where the causal consumer or elite organization “isn’t normally allowed.”
The smoky saxophone that melts the first scene into the second, bridging the two verses, calls to mind the abstract virtuosic nature of the jazz musician that attracts and bewilders with their instrument. The ghosts of musical lineage permeate the background of the second verse, possessing the soul of the painter while he articulates the blood, sweat and tears endured throughout the history of art and the creative process, touching on everything from the risks taken by those who dare to bring new expressions into the world to the controlling and degrading effects that elitism and consumerism have on the art world.
The creative spirit represented by the painter in the song has tamed the beast that is the intimidating blank page, defanged it and made it soar. This is made ever more evident with Lupe’s effortless display of complex poetry over the audio canvas. He proves to all who think otherwise, that true hip-hop is high art, requires wizardly skill and a connection to tradition.
The patron is set ablaze after witnessing and being awestruck by the latest articulation of the painter. In this fire is the external critic, the internal censor that halts authenticity as well as the old self that must be sacrificed to the renewing effects of art and music as it relates to both the creator and the observer.
The dreamy, undulating soundscape that follows induces a feeling of metamorphosis taking place in the tempering of the flames. Artistic will triumphs—the mural is wiped clean and creative thought is liberated.
Lupe made the entire 10 track LP that is DRILL MUSIC IN ZION in three days from scratch, so this masterful feat of lyrical storytelling must’ve only taken him a few hours.
Listen to the album: