Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

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Coachella preview: Lupe Fiasco

April 9, 2009 |  2:51 pm

Pop & Hiss will be covering the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., from April 17 to 19. There are more than 120 acts on the bill, and in the days leading up to the festival, we'll be selecting some of the best bets -- some on the radar, some flying below.

Who: Lupe Fiasco

Why he'll give you a little something to think about for the drive home:
With 2007's "The Cool," friend-of-Kanye West Lupe Fiasco turned in one of the sharpest concept records around -- a 71-minute examination of what it means to be "cool," offering an entertainingly heady look at corporate hip-hop, fast food and poverty, be it here or in forgotten corners of the world.

Don't be scared, though. Lupe isn't going to make you feel insecure that you never applied to that PhD program, and his rhymes are framed with easy-to-digest, jazzy-pop orchestrations. The subject matter may be dense, but there's a lot of fun to be had here, as Lupe's reference points are tied back to comic books and cartoons. Check the nod to "The Jetsons" in the thrilling "Little Weapon." A militaristic beat -- one that sounds as if it's being played by a toy drum -- sets the backdrop for a narrative about 10-year-old rebel fighters who are pointing guns at soccer balls rather than running around them.

Here's hoping he performs something from his upcoming album, tipped to be titled "We Are Lasers," and said to focus on a terror that's a little closer to home: high school.

-- Todd Martens

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times