After teasing some interesting art and a date about 9 weeks ago, Lupe Fiasco has suddenly dropped a free 6 song Mixtape for download titled Pharaoh Height 2/30. This title could be a nod to his first 3 part mixtape series, Fahrenheit 1/15. Pharaoh Height sounds similar and also marks an evolution within Lupe, as Pharaoh Height 2/30 is a direct nod to Fahrenheit 1/15, transcending what he first released on many levels. With all the tracks spelling out “In Valleys Of King’s Pyramid Schemes” this project is a big deal because this Mixtape would be the first project from Lupe now that he is out of his contract. That means this a Free Lupe. With none of these tracks sounding very old, it would make sense for these to be the first words of a man who is not attached to a contract. Lu being so rebellious already, I was ecstatic to listen to this project.
The first track titled “In,” Lupe spits over the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain E3 Game Trailer instrumental. The song starts with an odd monologue from a man telling stories of his life. This comes from the same Metal Gear Solid trailer. A few times a minute, a woman’s voice would softly say “Pharaoh,” which causes a disturbance within the beat. A few quick Lupe bars would then drop, where he sings/slowly raps through the chorus. The monologue then comes back by speaking on the importance of language. With the melodic chants from Lupe and the thought provoking narrator, this first track creates a great platform for tape.
The second track is lead with smooth heavy robotic vocals and hard drums, which is actually a track from Robert Glasper sampling J Dilla. As a clear and cut example, Lupe never lets down with the word play. He once again shows his ability as a lyricist with lyrics like:
” 10 years old, let me get your age
You were a ten, ten years ago “
He also spits an impressive freestyle at the end of the track. As the beat is lowered and the track ends, it is easy to see the growth from the Chicago-raised artist. We are now given a fully developed musician, especially with his ability to shine with multiple different rhyming styles. On the next track, we get to hear Lupe run over a J Dilla beat from his Donuts album. The Dilla track titled “The Diff’rence” contains a number of samples but now Lupe’s “Of” does not let down. From the fat bass lines to the horns this is a difficult beat to rap over, and Lupe handles it incredibly. The next track titled “KINGS” is reminiscent of a silky Frank Ocean beat. This is obviously because it’s the instrumental for The Weeknd‘s smash hit “The King Of The Fall.” Now the woman’s voice still randomly saying “Pharaoh” fits this track perfectly. We now know what Lupe would sound like on the new The Weeknd album. My ears immediately perked up as soon as the first beat on the next track, “Pyramids,” hit. I couldn’t believe I was hearing a Flying Lotus instrumental. The original song being “All In,” from Papa FlyLo’s Until The Quiet Comes album. Lupe runs over this beat easily and with the loud chaotic background it is still a nice track. Still keeping up, the lyricism this track delivers is everything I always wanted.
On the last track, we hear a group of voices asking “Uncle Lupe” for a bedtime which he hesitantly agrees. This is actually from a classic Slick Rick track titled “Children’s Story.” Immediately, Lupe raps with a sense of urgency. He is assisted by his own background vocals acting like a posse rap but with only one MC. Speaking on the race to become rich in the ghetto Lupe shows his skills over a number of beats. While this track almost gets too fast and chaotic to grasp, at some points it is still an impressive show of rapping. This mixtape was the first of many interesting projects we hope to see from an independent Lupe Fiasco. While he said he won’t be doing very many more main-stream interviews, we are still in for much more good music from Lupe.
Download the tape here
Stream it on Lupe’s Soundcloud below.