Lupe Fiasco Shows Off His Pen Game in “Cake”

Lupe Fiasco Shows Off His Pen Game in “Cake”

Assembling assonant syllables into sumptuous literary stanzas, Lupe Fiasco has built a his reputation off the strength of his pen game. Proving that few emcees can touch him even 20 years into his storied career, Lupe shares “Cake,” his new single. Over a head-spinning instrumental from Soundtrakk, Lupe flexes like only he can, putting together intricate internal rhymes and off-kilter metaphors to assert an important message: nobody has bars like him. Locking in with Soundtrakk’s swirling melodies and satisfyingly old school percussion, the Chicago rapper asserts that he’s colder than a Siberian winter, with the pen game of Kurt Vonnegut and a vocabulary large enough to make a computer lose memory. He spits: “Ain’t no domino in my dominance, when I’m droppin’ this/Janis Jop-a-lin drop-a-lets, it sound like the apocalypse/Mixed with Christopher Wallace’s topics, on top a obelisk/This a cobbleous novelist, inside of my esophagus/Rhyme as primin’ as Optimus and this sh*t tastes like chocolate cake.” The single arrives with a stylish, stripped-down music video directed by Chris and Blaq of IMPAKT STUDIO, which finds Lu flexing on a soundstage as he spits his verse amidst the commotion of production staff around him.

“Cake” is the second single from Samurai, Lupe’s ninth studio album and one of the most personal of his career to date. The upcoming album is produced in full by Soundtrakk, making it their second full album collaboration following 2022’s DRILL MUSIC IN ZION, and the first album that Lupe and Soundtrakk worked on with their longtime manager, and 1st & 15th co-CEO Charley “Chill” Patton, since 2007’s The Cool. The 8-track album is smooth, yet cerebral, brimming with ideas, but always radiating Lupe’s pure love for the art of emceeing and committing himself as a servant of the rap game. Last week, Lupe introduced the album by sharing the single and music video for its title track, “Samurai,” praised by Rolling StoneComplexBillboardHYPEBEASTClash, [http://]The Needle Drop, and more. Now available to pre-save and pre-order on vinyl, Samurai arrives in both physical and digital formats on June 28th via 1st & 15th.

The upcoming Samurai is Lupe’s first new album since 2022’s DRILL MUSIC IN ZION, which earned critical acclaim from NPRComplexThe FADER, and many others, including Vinyl Me Please, who wrote “At their best, Lupe’s bars are as visually and phonetically pleasing as popped bubble wrap.” The product of a burst of thoughtful spontaneity, Lupe created DRILL MUSIC IN ZION over a short period, diving into a folder of beats sent by Soundtrakk and emerging with a fully-realized album in just three days. In 2023, Lupe kept busy by releasing tracks like “Wild Child (Remix),” a new version of his 2017 track created in collaboration with Chicago house luminary Vince Lawrence, and “Out There,” an archival track from the 1st & 15th vault. The iconic Chicago native also settled into his position as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches “Rap Theory and Practice.” Beyond music, Lupe Fiasco continues to focus on the community organizations he founded, including We Are M.U.R.A.L, The Neighborhood Start-Up Fund, Society of Spoken Art, and his cross-cultural content venture, Studio SV. Check out our previous coverage on Lupe Fiasco here.

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