Album Review: Lupe Fiasco - Drill Music in Zion


Peace to the OK-Tho/Hip-Hop community. Jab here, once again. Y'all already know who Lupe is. Let's jump right into the review! 

The Lions Deen (ft. Ayesha Jaco) - Ayesha is Lupe's sister. Drill music, pop that pill music, kill music. It all contributes to the degradation of Black Chi. More death. Lions became alley cats who traded in their baseball bats for gats that spats the blood of young men all over the multiple concrete jungles. This is an ode to blackness. 

GHOTI - The somberness of the beat matches Lupe's cadence and subject matter. I love the Assassin's Creed references. The beat sounds like something Altair or Ezio would/SHOULD be roaming to. It's the 2nd verse for me that does it. So many quotables. 

 Genius Annotation below

“GHOTI” is derived from a popular joke regarding the English language and its phonetic inconsistency.

If you pronounce the “Gh” like you do in “enough,” the “O” like in “women,” and the “TI” like “nation,” it would be pronounced just like “fish.” 

AUTOBOTO (ft. Nayirah) - A banger, but not drill. He flexin. He's standing up for himself per usual. He defends himself in all the courts whether it be in Hip-Hop/socially, personally, etc. Nayirah began singing after the beat transition.

PRECIOUS THINGS - The subject matter here is about how (some) of the precious things that we love and cherish have a way of turning on us, like friends. Lupe touches on gentrification and the unfair treatment of black folk when he says things like how WE aren't used to write the raps anymore and "It's like you couldn't do more to keep us out them handcuffs. It's like we only matter when fans is putting they hands up."

KIOSK - Lupe offers a different POV to a young brother who is in the mall looking for something to flex, and who may want to rap. He let's him know of the evils of capitalism/consumerism, deceptions, how essential social responsibility is and how the rap game ain't all it looks. He let's the brother know that everyone is equal in the middle of the mall from the princes, emperors, criminals, and even the rappers and ball players. He later touches on societal phenomenon's. Not much of a beat to speak on here. It's almost like poetry over piano.

MS. MURAL - Lupe really brought out one of his bigger brushes for this, being one of the longest tracks on the album. He touches on the lack/destruction of soul in various forms of art today while relaying it via an interaction between a painter and a patron. The quotables are endless. 

A selection of the waste that lacks direction or a base
You lose all of the plots for the affections of a race
Man does not become superior 'cause you connect him to a cape
Nor does become inferior because you connect him to a ape

NAOMI - This beat sounds like what I've come to expect Lupe to flow on. Even Christ took a knife for the team. Malcolm's rhetoric amongst other things got him watched and killed. Lupe uses these historical examples as a way of touching on how there are folk out here "they" who want a slice of your dreams, and that we need to protect ourselves and our energy while still being willing to take one for the team. 

DRILL MUSIC IN ZION - Lupe just wants change/an end to (the reasons for, especially) drill music in Zion. He talks about metaphorically and literally running out of water while also questioning authority, pondering a conspiracy theory, thoughts of replacing a Congress, wondering of the price of a conscience, etc. 

By the 2nd verse, he gets rather cutthroat about his frustrations in regards to inequality, and I'm WITH IT. 

Now there are those that resoluted to wreck
Got caught, fought, lost, electrocuted to death
Came a little late for the rescue and the flesh
DNA exonerates posthumously whatever's left
No resurrection but reputation's correct
The revelation brings decorated regrets
All due respect, it's not really about fair
Collective sigh 'cause the real killer's still out there
Probably calling up police
Complaining 'bout his neighbours or just walking on the beach
Why should he have such views of the ocean?
And not be hanging from the gallows with his neck neatly broken?

I let it soak in, then I put the soap in
Then I put the boats in, then I play with both them
The hot tub's now lookin' like a yacht club
Makin' sure I get all of the shoes like a bot does
Neighbor is pissed
Tells the cops "if he wants to bathe like a sailor
Live on a container ship"
I party all night and the bangin' is intense
'Cause I know exactly what you did
And you gon' pay for it, you bitch

SEATTLE (ft. Nayirah) - We're back to a bit of a banger but again, not drill. The beat is a bit melancholic. The importance of self-improvement and integrity is highlighted here. Lupe flows about how the two subjects are essential for him to keep his promise to the streets. 

To see my vampires in the sunlight
To look my eye, right in the suns
And bring all my knives to the gunfights
One life, live a hundred ways
But never break it down like gum bites
If done right, you'll be unliked, but you'll be unlike

ON FAUX NEM - Lupe closes the album by expressing that he hopes that the lyrics that drill rappers spit are just lies, and that none of it comes true. "Rappers die too much" is literally the first verse. 

2nd Verse: 

Yeah, silent reflection was the first verse's mission
I ain't want to water it down with a whole bunch of conditions
Just give it to you raw how a nigga really feelin'
"Rappers get shot too much" probably has a lot more precision
But that was the dеcision, and with that, I'ma stick
I don't really support niggas 'cause the shit bе making me sick
Look at what we say in this bitch just to get rich
Shoot a nigga right in the head, don't even flinch

On the 3rd verse, Lupe briefly talks about seeing the world but it's what below that makes this verse for me.

and then the 4th: 

Giving you a fourth, wanna make up for the first
Only 'cause I know that you can take another verse
Want the Quran to be a lie 'cause Hell sounds like it hurts
Also want it to be real 'cause Heaven sounds like it's turnt
Wear my conscience like a condom 'cause I don't wanna be burnt
Wear my dharma like its armor 'cause I don't wanna return
To the wheel of the quivering meat conception
Sometimes I hide inside Kerouac for protection
From the Thanksgiving where bears attacking the dressing
Like Tekken, just lean back and tear into that refreshment
Sometimes real life parallaxes in depression

That's real
Maybe not lie, maybe just chill (Yo)
Maybe not die, maybe just kill (Wait, no)
Maybe survive making a mil'
Greetings wavy but wavy don't make you a Navy SEAL

Lupe dropped one of the better/best albums that his discog has to offer with DMIZ, his best since T&Y now that I think about it. This socially conscious album is needed/essential in these times, not just for the Chi but for all the concrete jungles across Black America as well as for the Black folk around the world. Good on the OG. 

Stream DMIZ below.