Lupe Fiasco Drops ‘Samurai’ Album + “No.1 Headband” Video

Lupe Fiasco Drops ‘Samurai’ Album + “No.1 Headband” Video

Lupe Fiasco sharpens his pen on ‘Samurai’, his new studio album out now via 1st & 15th

Sharpening his blade and honing his craft, the Chicago MC’s ninth studio album finds him at the top of his game across eight hard-hitting cuts, entirely produced by Soundtrakk

With over two decades of tenure in the rap game, Lupe Fiasco is a savvy veteran of hip-hop, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take the time to hone and perfect his craft at every turn.

Today, the Chicago MC unveils his latest album ‘Samurai’, a smooth, yet cerebral, 8-track album brimming with ideas, that radiates Lupe’s pure love for the art of emceeing and committing himself as a servant of the rap game.

The word ‘samurai’ means to serve,” Lupe says on the album’s title. “My relationship to that word has always meant that you need to be at the service of other people, either in the overall community, or in this instance, the rap community at large that I’ve been a part of for years.

‘Samurai’, Lupe’s ninth studio album, is produced in full by Soundtrakk, making it their second full album collaboration following 2022’s ‘DRILL MUSIC IN ZION‘, and the first album that Lupe and Soundtrakk worked on with their longtime manager, and 1st & 15th co-CEO Charles “Chill” Patton, since 2007’s ‘The Cool’.

Patton also serves as executive producer on the album.

It’s home to recent singles such as the title track “Samurai” and “Cake” which shows off Lupe’s supreme ability to attack the beat with poetic and energetic bars.

Lupe’s ninth full-length to date opens with aforementioned title track, “Samurai” and is a loose and soulful record that gently lopes along with a prominent drumbeat and a lilting soprano sax lick, as Lupe dons his battle rap persona, attempting to draw a crowd with his poetic devices.

While the chorus imitates a busker or carnival barker’s call for attention, the verses dig deeper.

The first verse analyzes the awkward relationship between hip-hop culture and high culture.

The second verse tells the story of a struggling artist, contrasting her glamorous dreams with her gritty reality, but brimming with her unbroken spirit.

Lupe takes the listener on an introspective journey but also utilizes different eras of hip hop to tell the stories that lay within each individual track.

From experimental melodies infused within hip hop beats that carry ‘90s twang like “Mumble Rap”, or paired down, sentimental percussions and keys as found in “Palaces”, and the orchestral, street freestyle-esque “No. 1 Headband”, Lupe weaves the many faces of hip hop, along with the many lives he has lived within the industry, into the narrative of his project.

On ‘Samurai’, Lupe retreats inward to deliver fans one of his most personal albums to date.

I sometimes get tagged by my fans as not doing personal records,” Lupe says, “but I always tell people there’s me in there if you listen closely enough. This album is one of my more personal records to date. It’s not a full biography, but my personal experiences are tied up in all of my music. A lot of the records are me. Some are from the POV of a character. and some are me. The album weaves things from my life as an artist, touching on things other artists go through.

‘Samurai’ is available now to stream and cop on all major digital streaming platforms via 1st & 15th.

Samurai’ Tracklisting:

  1. Samurai
  2. Mumble Rap
  3. Cake
  4. Palaces
  5. No. 1 Headband
  6. Bigfoot
  7. Outside
  8. Til Eternity

‘Samurai’ is Lupe’s first new album since 2022’s ‘DRILL MUSIC IN ZION’, which earned critical acclaim from many major media outlets.

The product of a burst of thoughtful spontaneity, Lupe created ‘DRILL MUSIC IN ZION’ over a short period, diving into a folder of beats sent by Soundtrakk and emerging with a fully-realized album in just three days.

In 2023, Lupe kept busy by releasing tracks like “Wild Child (Remix)”, a new version of his 2017 track created in collaboration with Chicago house luminary Vince Lawrence, and “Out There”, an archival track from the 1st & 15th vault.

The iconic Chicago native also settled into his position as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches “Rap Theory and Practice”.

Beyond music, Lupe continues to focus on the community organizations he founded, including We Are M.U.R.A.L., The Neighborhood Start-Up Fund, Society of Spoken Art, and his cross-cultural content venture, Studio SV.

Along with ‘Samurai’s’ release, Lupe also dropped the accompanying video for “No. 1 Headband” where we see the Chicago native driving around his hometown reflecting on his surroundings, his early life, and lyrically slicing through any one who dares to think they can match his ability.

Lupe paints a soulful scene in an otherwise ordinary industrial suburban landscape.

Shot in black and white, joined by beautiful backup singers, and featuring visual cuts of a saxophone player’s hands tickling the instruments’ keys when the jazz-heavy chorus of the track kicks in, the viewer has the opportunity to ride around the rapper’s hometown and listen to him share his personal anecdotes.

The video represents a return to home that pairs well with the themes found in the track’s lyrics and the entire album as a whole.

Lupe Fiasco Drops ‘Samurai’ Album + “No.1 Headband” Video
Photo Credit: Karl Ray

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