After a the polite introduction of a gorgeous little instrumental opener acts as a polite cough to ensure you’re listening Wasalu Jaco’s fifth album kicks into ‘Mural‘ and immediately sets out what to expect from the entire set. It’s one of three tracks here to pass eight minutes, yet like the other two- and indeed the album itself- not a second feels overlong or out of place, and there is little in the way of a hook or chorus, just Lupe shooting out rhymes and wordplay that sometimes sound like free association or just sometimes sheer nonsense (“I like my pancakes cut in swirls/Moroccan moles and undercover squirrels/I like cartoons, southern cities with large moons/Faith healers, ex-female drug dealers and art booms/Apologize for my weird mix/What taste like hot dogs and tear drips/And looks like pantomime and clear bricks/And smells like shotguns and deer piss”) that’s never less than absolutely thrilling to listen to. Fiasco is so obviously in deep love with the very craft of rapping, and ‘Tetsuo & Youth’ is essentially on long 78 minute example of just how thrilling and engrossing the art form can be. Aside from the extraordinary rhymes though, the reason ‘Tetsuo & Youth’ succeeds so comprehensively is because the songs are so dazzling and the production so rich, the album sounds almost aggressively focused and absolutely sure of itself and what it intends to achieve. Lupe’s lyrical concerns are not just gibberish though- you could spend days raking over every line of ‘Prisoner 1&2‘ (the second song to beak eight minutes) for just one example- and there is a overriding theme of the sad realities of black youths in America, though not without hope that the future could see change for the better. ‘Tetsuo & Youth’ constructs a thrilling and bewitching world both lyrically and musically that even after nearly an hour and a half rambling its hills you only want to spend more time within.
‘Fun’ Fact: You’ve no doubt heard all the rumours and assumed it was some kind of internet urban legend, but I can confirm that, yes, Lupe was born on the same day Agatha Barbara became the first female president of Malta
So what was it you said about CHVRCHES changing their name? Jesus, will you just leave it? Listen to ‘Deliver‘, isn’t that just one of the most perfect songs you’ve ever heard? Both lyrically and musically it blows my tiny mind.