Lupe Fiasco's The Cool

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"The Cool" redirects here. For the associated concept character, see The Cool (character).
Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
Studio album by Lupe Fiasco
Released December 18, 2007 (2007-12-18)
(see release history)
Recorded 2006–2007
Genre Hip hop, alternative hip hop
Length 70:44
Label 1st & 15th, Atlantic
Producer Charles "Chilly" Patton (exec.)
Lupe Fiasco (exec.)
Darrale Jones (co-exec.)
Patrick Stump, Al Shux, Chris & Drop, Chris Goss, Le Messie, Simonsayz, Soundtrakk, Unkle
Lupe Fiasco chronology
Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
(2006)
Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
(2007)
Lasers
(2011)
Singles from Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
  1. "Superstar"
    Released: September 25, 2007
  2. "Hip Hop Saved My Life"
    Released: March 18, 2008
  3. "Paris, Tokyo"
    Released: April 21, 2008
  4. "Dumb It Down"
    Released: Jun 5, 2008

Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, commonly referred to as simply The Cool, is the second studio album by Chicago hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco, released on December 18, 2007 in the United States. The Cool is a loose concept album, based on a song and its titular character from his debut album Food & Liquor. The album features production from Patrick Stump, Soundtrakk, Unkle, and Chris & Drop, among others. Guest appearances include Gemini, Snoop Dogg, and Matthew Santos. The album debuted at #15, moved a spot up to #14 on the Billboard 200 in its second week. It debuted as the #1 rap record and remained there for 9 weeks. It has been certified Gold by the RIAA.[1] The album was nominated for four awards at the 2009 Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album.

Background[edit]

Concept[edit]

During the recording of the album, Lupe Fiasco's father died of type II diabetes,[2][3] his good friend Stack Bundles died, and his business partner and mentor—Charles "Chilly" Patton—was sentenced to 44 years in prison.[4] When asked about the album's dark side, Lupe Fiasco replied:

Oh yeah. A lot of loss. I lost my father, I lost my business partner to prison, and I lost some friends. It was a very dark period. It still is in some aspects, but you know, I'm kind of coming out of it. But especially during the time that the album was being cooked, in my head it was a very dark kind of period.[3]

Lupe Fiasco's The Cool expands on the story Lupe told on the track, "The Cool", from his debut album. Fiasco introduces the characters the Streets and the Game.[5] The album tells the story of the little boy from "He Say, She Say" who grew up without a father, and the people that step in to raise him are the Streets and the Game,[6] with The Streets playing his female love interest and The Game his father.[7] Speaking on the concept Lupe said:

I expand on the story, I introduce two other characters, the Game and the Streets. The Streets is a female. She's like the action personification of the streets, the street life, the call of the streets. The Game is the same way. The Game is the personification of the game. The pimp's game, the hustler's game, the con man's game, whatever. Then they've got supernatural characteristics. Like the Cool, his right hand is rotted away. The only thing that rotted away was his right hand. It represents the rotting away of his righteousness, of his good. And the Streets and the Cool kind of have a love affair going on. So she's represented by this locket. And the locket has a key and it's on fire. And as a gift to the Cool on his rise to fame, she gave him the key. And the key represents the key to the Streets. So she wears a locket around her neck at all times. And the way the story goes, she has given that key to tons of people throughout time. Al Capone, Alexander the Great, whatever. She's giving them the key to the Streets. Fame and fortune — but also the prices. The Game, he's represented by a stripped-down skull, a skull with dice in his eyes and smoke coming out of his mouth. The billowing smoke is actually crack smoke. It's not a full concept album; it's more spread over like five [tracks], really abstractly.[8]

Lupe also stated that there are plans to spin The Cool into a horror-themed radio program, and a comic book. The album was also personalized into a promotion in the form of a skateboard design contest, hosted by imeem, which was won by Sluglife, the show name for designer/artist Lawrence Ervin.[8]

Recording sessions[edit]

In an interview with MTV News Lupe Fiasco explained how he planned to record The Cool:

The timing is gonna be pop, pop, pop. There's gonna be a lot of setup and a lot of pre-production on this album, so it's gonna be in pieces. But the pieces won't come together, seriously, until like three weeks before it comes out. We'll probably record everything in, like, a week. So we're just gonna get it all together, map it out, have it done to a T, and then go and record. Then the fresh from the studio, fresh to mastering ... so it eliminates a lot of time and error that was surrounding [my debut].[9]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number fifteen on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 143,407 copies in its first week, the album also rose to number fourteen the following week.[10][11] In the UK, the album debuted at number seven due to the success of the first single, "Superstar", which reached the top 5 on the singles chart.[citation needed]. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America selling over 500,000 in the United States.[12]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[13]
The A.V. Club A−[14]
Robert Christgau A–[15]
Entertainment Weekly A−[16]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[17]
NME 7/10[18]
Pitchfork Media 8.1/10[19]
Q 4/5 stars[20]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[21]
Spin 7/10[22]

Lupe Fiasco's The Cool received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 30 reviews.[23] Entertainment Weekly said "Sonically, he's got the same kind of gratifying ADHD going on. Some tracks, like 'Paris, Tokyo,' contrast his Twista-style rapid-fire delivery with a lazy rhythm that's close to smooth jazz which can be compared to A Tribe Called Quest. 'Hello/Goodbye,' at the other extreme, has U.K. electro outfit Unkle providing a tense rock feel."[24] The New York Times, hailing the album as "one of the year’s best hip-hop albums," added that "The songs only grow more urgent as Lupe Fiasco expands his sociopolitical perspective. 'Intruder Alert' starts as a wary love song and broadens its topic to immigration. 'Little Weapon,' produced by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, looks at children with guns, from child soldiers in Africa to high school shooters.[25] Allmusic said, "He is one of the most clever artists around, and as far as telling stories with rhymes goes, he's way up there, best exemplified by 'Hip-Hop Saved My Life' (a gripping story about a struggling rapper, based on the story of Slim Thug) and 'Gotta Eat' (where Lupe's inspiration for metaphors is a cheeseburger, yet it is no more corny than Main Source's classic 'Just a Friendly Game of Baseball')."[13]

In a less enthusiastic review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis felt that Fiasco indulges occasionally in "sanctimonious moralising" on what is an otherwise successful album.[17] Entertainment Weekly named The Cool the 10th best album of 2007 in their year-end list.[26]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Songwriter(s) Producer(s) Length Sample(s)
1 "Baba Says Cool for Thought" Jaco, Ayesha Ayesha Jaco 0:46
2 "Free Chilly" (Feat. Sarah Green & Gemstones) Lupe Fiasco Soundtrakk 1:02
3 "Go Go Gadget Flow" Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 4:10
  • Interpolates a line from Don't Get it Twisted Freestyle by Lupe Fiasco
4 "The Coolest" Paultre, Chris/Braxton, Derrick/Lupe Fiasco Chris & Drop 5:12
5 "Superstar" (Feat. Matthew Santos) Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk/Prince Ben Soundtrakk 4:48
6 "Paris, Tokyo" Deodato, Eumir/Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 4:30
7 "Hi-Definition" (Feat. Snoop Dogg & Pooh Bear) Broadus, Cordozar Calvin/Shuckburgh, Alexander/Jason "Pooh Bear" Boyd/Lupe Fiasco Al Shux 3:51
8 "Gold Watch" Paultre, Chris/Braxton, Derrick/Lupe Fiasco Chris & Drop 4:12
  • "Do Whatever Turns You on Part. II" by the Prepositions
9 "Hip-Hop Saved My Life" (Feat. Nikki Jean) Lupe Fiasco/Jean, Nikki/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 4:02
10 "Intruder Alert" (Feat. Sarah Green) Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 4:00
11 "Streets on Fire" (Feat. Matthew Santos) Paultre, Chris/Braxton, Derrick/Lupe Fiasco Chris & Drop 4:40
12 "Little Weapon" (Feat. Bishop G & Nikki Jean) Stump, Patrick/Lupe Fiasco/Bishop G Patrick Stump 4:06
13 "Gotta Eat" Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 3:24
14 "Dumb It Down" (Feat. Gemstones & Graham Burris) Lupe Fiasco/Prince Ben/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 4:03
15 "Hello/Goodbye (Uncool)" (Feat. Unkle) File, C./Goss, J./Homme, J./Lavelle, J./Lupe Fiasco Lupe Fiasco, Chris Goss, Unkle 4:26
  • "Chemistry" by Unkle
16 "The Die" (Feat. Gemstones) Gemstones/Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 3:23
17 "Put You on Game" Simonsayz/Lupe Fiasco Simonsayz 3:02
18 "Fighters" (Feat. Matthew Santos) Messie/Lupe Fiasco Le Messie 3:33
19 "Go Baby" (Feat. Gemstones) Gemstones/Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 3:36
20 "Blackout" (Japan bonus track, Circuit City bonus track) Lupe Fiasco/Soundtrakk Soundtrakk 3:56

Personnel[edit]

Information taken from Allmusic.[13]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Certification Sales
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[27] 44
French Albums Chart[27] 129
Irish Albums Chart[27] 24
Swiss Albums Chart[27] 93
U.S. Billboard 200[28] 14 Gold 500,000+
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[29] 4
U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums[29] 1
UK Albums Chart[30] 7

Release history[edit]

Region Date
United States December 18, 2007
Canada
United Kingdom January 21, 2008
Japan January 3, 2008

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Danity Kane 'Welcomes' A Timely Gold - ''Leona, Lupe, Angels Earn First Brass''". Riaa.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  2. ^ Westhoff, Ben (January 9, 2008). "Lupe Fiasco hints at music retirement". SF Weekly. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Sawjani, Archna (December 17, 2007). "Lupe Fiasco: Thought Process". XXLmag.com. Retrieved December 19, 2007. 
  4. ^ Fullmetal (June 4, 2007). "Lupe Fiasco's mentor sentenced to 44 years in prison". Def Sounds. Archived from the original on March 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ Crosley, Hillary (November 27, 2007). "The Unclassifiable Lupe Fiasco". Billboard.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  6. ^ Jokesta (November 28, 2007). Lupe's LupEND, Talks Cool Concept Def Sounds. Accessed December 1, 2007.[dead link]
  7. ^ Lewis, Pete (April 2008). "LUPE FIASCO: 'PARIS, TOKYO'... BLUES AND SOUL". Blues & Soul (1043). Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Solarsk, Matthew (November 30, 2007). "Lupe Fiasco Talks The Cool, Cheeseburgers, Retirement". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved December 1, 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson (2007-01-04). "Lupe Fiasco Hopes To Thwart Bootleggers So Album Sales Match Acclaim". VH1. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  10. ^ Paine, Jake (December 27, 2007). "Hip Hop Album Sales: Week Ending 12/24/07". HipHopDX.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  11. ^ http://www.billboard.com/charts/2008-01-12/r-b-hip-hop-albums
  12. ^ RIAA.org database (search lupe fiasco under artist).
  13. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy. "The Cool". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  14. ^ Rabin, Nathan (December 18, 2007). "The Cool". AVclub.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 2008). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ Willman, Chris (December 14, 2007). "Music Review Lupe Fiasco's The Cool". EW.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (2008). "CD: Lupe Fiasco, The Cool". The Guardian (January 17) (London). p. 10 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ Pattison, Louis (2008). "Lupe Fiasco". NME (London) (January 28). Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  19. ^ Pytlik, Mark (January 8, 2008). "Pitchfork Media review". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  20. ^ Anon. (2008). Q (London) (March): 103. 
  21. ^ Sheffield, Rob (January 24, 2008). "Rolling Stone review". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ Anderson, Kyle (2008). "Lupe Fiasco, 'Lupe Fiasco's The Cool' Review". Spin (London) (January 18). Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ Lupe Fiasco: The Cool (2007): Reviews MetaCritic. Accessed December 18, 2007.
  24. ^ Chris Willman (December 14, 2007). Lupe Fiasco's The Cool – Review. Entertainment Weekly. Accessed December 18, 2007.
  25. ^ Pareles, Jon (December 17, 2007). "New CDs". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  26. ^ "The Best (and Worst) Albums of 2007". Entertainment Weekly (New York). December 21, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  27. ^ a b c d "Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's The Cool - Music Charts". αCharts. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  28. ^ "Slipknot Edges The Game Atop Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  29. ^ a b Harris, Chris (September 3, 2008). "Slipknot Beat The Game With First Billboard-Topping Debut, Contrary To Early Report". MTV.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  30. ^ HMV Canada: "All Hope is Gone" by Slipknot tops CD sales list[dead link]

External links[edit]