Death of the Critic

DROGAS Light - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


Lupe Fiasco has had his ups and downs. He has made some amazing rap music, but he keeps trying to break into the mainstream, and it’s resulted in a watered down version of his work.
DROGAS Light takes a step forward for him, mixing subversive rhymes with mass appeal in a way that finally clicks. The first run of tracks is fantastic, and the album somehow darts from dark trap beats to Daft Punk style electronic beats and Gambino-esque flows to slickly produced top 40 style hits. There is something for everyone here, an incredible range of sounds and style crammed into one package as he tries out every conceivable option.

“Dopamine Lit” kicks it off with a bang, a solid trap beat under steady, unflinching lyrics that march their way through the song. It’s Atlanta drug rap, “you can stream the album on Silkroad” levels of cultural references combined with a simple flow. He starts the album off dark, mired in drugs and violence, “you can over D offa this / but don’t fall asleep till the dopamine hit.” There is a dark energy propelling you through, insisting that you keep listening. “Promise” drops the beat back for a slower and steadier song before bringing it back with a roaring anger with “Made in the USA”. The repetitive hook challenges the nationalistic idea that things made in the USA are intrinsically better, as he calls out guns, drugs, racism, and violence, all home grown, all proud American products.

The first half of the album is fantastic. He front loads it with his more experimental, subversive, and darker tracks before transitioning into more “basic” rap music, songs built more around radio plays than a message. It is still well made, but makes for a much less interesting latter half. It’s an imitation, and he doesn’t choose to do anything interesting with it. It is remarkable how much of a musical chameleon that Lupe is, seamlessly jumping between different styles that could fit in on so many different albums. It is playful but disjointed, an artist exploring style to find their own, and there is something that I admire about that.

It is an interesting project, and one of his best to date. It packs a hell of a punch when it hits, but unfortunately, most of the moves that he makes here are not only ones that you’ve seen before, but ones that you are intimately familiar with through other artists.


Dopamine Lit (Intro)
NGL (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
Made In the USA (Feat. Bianca)
Jump (Feat. Gizzle)
City of the Year (Feat. Rondo)
High (Interlude) (Feat. Simon Sayz)
Tranquilo (Feat. Big KRIT and Rick Ross)
Kill (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign and Victoria Monet)
Law (Feat. Simon Sayz)
Pick Up The Phone (Feat. Sebastian Lundberg)
It's Not Design (Feat. Salim)
Wild Child (Feat. Jake Torrey)
More Than My Heart (Feat. Rxmn & Salim)

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Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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