Tetsuo & Youth
Lupe Fiasco is an underground rapper with a mainstream career, and vice versa. From his label dust-ups to his shifting musical ambitions, he's an iconoclast who happens to be a hitmaker. He revels in this duality on Tetsuo & Youth. Dig the second track, "Mural," which is nine minutes of dizzying raps with no guests and no hook. "Chopper" is similarly maximalist, featuring seven rappers and stretching nearly 10 minutes. Everything from banjo samples to '80s metal guitars to classic boom-bap beats dot the productions. The smorgasbord of textures complements Lupe's seemingly endless verses, adding up to a quixotic album that's also one of his best.