State Run Radio (feat. sELF)
Label: 1st & 15th/Atlantic
Lupe Fiasco publicly battled his record label to get Lasers released, but was it worth it? He aims for the bleachers by quoting Modest Mouse's "Float On" ("The Show Goes On") and spinning a bizarre metaphor for racial harmony ("All Black Everything") amid loud drums and keyboards. Every track is drenched in yearning, echoey vocals from Skylar Grey, MDMA and others, but the songs aren't sturdy enough to sustain them. Whether you hear Lasers as a slump or a creative leap depends on whether you miss the lyrically dense backpack rap of Food & Liquor or are dazzled by his arena rock aspirations.