“We are a people who have historically been on the verge of extinction”
October 8, 2018 11:47 AM   Subscribe

On Lupe Fiasco' seventh album, the conscious hip-hop fallback poses a revisionist fantasy about underwater slaves sinking other slave ships— [Pitchfork Media] “...Drogas Wave, a wildly unrealized 24-track, 98-minute concept album with a surreal premise: What if African slaves thrown overboard during their transatlantic passage had managed to survive underwater and dedicate their existence to sinking other slave ships?”

• Lupe Fiasco "DROGAS Wave" Review [Hot New Hip Hop]
“Some pieces of the puzzle feel obscure, while others stand out and are connected flawlessly. The sprawling album is one of Lupe’s best, although it does have its pitfalls. The basic concept being explained within this album was birthed from Lupe’s obsession with The Cool. Michael Young History played an integral part in Lupe’s second album, and he devised a storyline about another form of the undead. DROGAS Wave transports listeners to a reality where slaves that jumped from ships didn’t die, but became underwater creatures called LongChains. They walk back to Africa underwater, and they guide the waves of the ocean to help free other slaves. That is the simplest way to describe the dynamics involved in songs such as “WAV Files,” and “Gold vs the Right Things to Do." The former sits high as one of the best tracks on the album, with Lupe dedicating an entire verse to naming slave ships. If there is anyone knowledgeable enough to tell a story about slaves, it’s Lupe.”
• His Most Ambitious & Uncompromising Album Yet [DJ Booth]
“Lupe’s complexity is also what has made him an increasingly hard sell, and why concepts like his aforementioned Reddit thread make you feel almost uncomfortably lost trying to reach whatever plane of reality his mind exists in. Being a genius with words, which Lupe unquestionably is, is only fun if he remains aware of that fact. Drogas Wave is Lupe through and through—as beautiful and complicated as his Reddit thread suggests. The ideas of “slaves” and “waves” lay heavily throughout the album. One of Lupe’s most admirable artistic qualities has always been his examination of world history through the lenses of good and evil, choices and consequences. Through its 24-track, hour and 38-minute runtime, DROGAS WAVE hammers home how impactful the actions and inactions of many can be on the world, and specifically on black culture. Lupe has never been afraid to wield the sword of conscious rap, but DROGAS WAVE’s inclusion of the “LongChains” characters and their underwater existence, in which they either travel back to Africa from which they came or stay in the water to help free other slaves, is as conceptually ambitious as anything Lupe has ever attempted.”
posted by Fizz (8 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
The Deep by clppng
posted by jazon at 11:50 AM on October 8, 2018 [9 favorites]

“Manilla” by Lupe Fiasco [YouTube]

This is my favourite track on the album. It's so wonderful and I cannot help but nod my head and tap my foot.
posted by Fizz at 12:00 PM on October 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seems like this mythology is not Lupe Fiasco's alone, but a collective thing. The Afrofuturism episode of This American Life that commisioned the clpping song cites Detroit band Drexciya as developing the story, but there seem to be deeper roots to it.
posted by rikschell at 12:14 PM on October 8, 2018 [15 favorites]

GEnderNullPointerException, that's pretty damn cool. Thanks for sharing that.

And thanks to rikschell for pointing to the fact that this is a larger narrative/mythology that is being explored by writers, artists, etc.
posted by Fizz at 12:32 PM on October 8, 2018

I was about to say - wait, is this a Drexciya tribute? - but I see we've got Kodwo Eshun on it, and he knows far more about this than I ever will. I have to admit I've never really listened to Lupe but this makes me want to check him out.
posted by atoxyl at 1:08 PM on October 8, 2018

In the vein of Pinball Wizard, Tommy, and American Idiot - this needs a Broadway Hiphopstraviganza.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:31 PM on October 8, 2018

Somewhere out there, Sir Nose D'voidoffunk is still screaming I STILL NEVER COULD SWIM.
posted by delfin at 3:22 PM on October 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

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