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Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor

Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, commonly referred to as Food & Liquor, is the Grammy Award winning debut album of American rapper Lupe Fiasco, released on September 19, 2006 on 1st & 15th Entertainment/Atlantic Records (see 2006 in music). The album features production from The Neptunes, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, Craig Kallman, Needlz, Soundtrakk, Prolyfic, and Brandon Howard. Jay-Z, Chill, and Lupe Fiasco himself are credited as the executive producers for the album.

Originally, the album was reported to have debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200; however, due to incomplete Nielsen SoundScan reports, the album actually debuted at #8.

The first international single off the album was "Kick, Push." The song stated Lupe's love for skateboarding. The second single in Europe was "Daydreamin'" (featuring Jill Scott) which features a sample of I Monster's "Daydream in Blue." The second single in the U.S. (and the third international single) was "I Gotcha" which is produced by The Neptunes. The song's video was featured on MTV's "Making the Video." Lupe held a poll on his MySpace profile, where fans were able to vote for which song they wanted to be made into a music video.

The album was nominated for 4 Grammy Awards including Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 49th Grammy Awards. It's fourth nomination produced a win as it won the Best Urban/Alternative Song at the 50th Grammy Awards for his track "Daydreamin'" featuring Jill Scott.


Initial reception

Internet buzz preceded the release of Food & Liquor, and he was on Rolling Stone's 2006 "List of Artists to Watch". Heralded as the potential "savior of Hip-Hop" by both critics and rap luminaries such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, his guest appearance on West's hit single Touch the Sky only further fueled the hype surrounding him. The album is widely considered a hip hop classic.

Title origin

The title of the album refers to the vast amounts of Food and Liquor stores that exist in Chicago, which is his hometown. The title is also a philosophy that Lupe believes about human nature and he goes on to elaborate:
In Chicago, instead of having bodegas like in New York, the majority of the corner stores are called 'Food and Liquors.' The store is where everything is at, whether it be the wine-o hanging by the store, or us as kids going back and forth to the store to buy something. The 'Food' is the good part and the 'Liquor' is the bad part. I try to balance out both parts of me.|cquote

Album leak

Earlier in 2006, the album was leaked twice: in March 2006 and May 2006. However Lupe stated that he would still release the album with new and revised tracks.


Subject matter

Fiasco covers a wide variety of subjects on the album. "Kick, Push" tells the story of a young skateboarder. The lyrics follow the skateboarder through many stages of his life such as his childhood, finding love, marriage, and adulthood (It is also understood to be an extended metaphor for hustling). Although the literal meaning of this song is skateboarding, the actual meaning of the song is rejection, and being criticized for doing what one loves. On "The Instrumental" Lupe addresses addiction to "boxes," or television. "He Say She Say" deals with the story of a child without a good father-figure and the effects that it has on the child. This child grows up to become "The Cool," one of the main characters which Lupe bases both of his albums on. "The Cool" follows the story of a dead man who rises from the grave and returns to the hood where he lived and died. "Hurt Me Soul" deals with Lupe's conflicting feelings about Hip-Hop, stating in the lyrics "I used to hate hip-hop. Yup, because the women degraded. But Too Short made me laugh, like a hypocrite I played it." He even references Jay-Z's (who is an executive producer of the album) line "I never pray to god. I pray to Gotti" on D'evils. The chorus features Lupe rapping from the perspective of various people who tell their problems in the world. On "American Terrorist", Lupe discusses his Muslim religion and racial profiling. He discusses the history of America terrorizing its own citizens and others. For example the song opens with,"We came through the storm, nooses on our necks, and a smallpox blanket to keep us warm." The album ends with Lupe reading a list of people who helped with the album (similar to that of "My 1st Song" by Jay-Z and "Last Call" by Kanye West).


Food & Liquor was handled by a variety of different producers some lesser-known such as Soundtrakk, Needlz and Craig Kallman, while also having tracks produced by well-known producers such as Kanye West, Mike Shinoda and The Neptunes. On "Kick, Push", Soundtrakk provided lush strings and horns as the backdrop. Strings are prominent through the album particularly on songs such as "Hurt Me Soul", "He Say She Say", and "Daydreamin'". "Daydreamin'" contains a sample of the well-known song "Daydream in Blue" by I Monster as the chorus. "American Terrorist" contains a middle-eastern style beat provided by Prolyfic. The Neptunes provided a more synth and keyboard based beat on "I Gotcha". Brandon Howard provides a lush piano loop on "Kick, Push II".


Food & Liquor was considered a critical masterpiece by many critics. It earned an 83/100 on Metacritic, a website that calculates reviews and averages the score, an 83 represents "Universal Acclaim." It received perfect scores from The Onion and HipHopDX. HipHopDX remarked that the music was ahead of its time, "When you are this far ahead of your time you have to remember that it will take even longer for the average listener to catch up. Prefix Magazine called it the best hip-hop album of 2006. The album was also nominated for four Grammy Awards (three in 2007, one in 2008) and won Best Urban/Alternative song at the 2008 Grammy awards for "Daydreamin'."

Track listing

# Title Length Songwriters Performer(s) Producer(s) Sample(s)
1 "Intro" 3:06 Lupe Fiasco & Iesha Jaco Chris & Drop
2 "Real" 4:02 Lupe Fiasco
Harvey Mason
Kenny Mason
Lupe Fiasco


3 "Just Might Be OK" 4:24 Lupe Fiasco
Paul Humphrey
Lupe Fiasco


  • Contains a sample of "Humphrey's Overture" written by Paul Humphrey

4 "Kick, Push" 4:13 Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco Soundtrakk

  • Contains samples of "Bolero Medley" & "Magtaksil Man Ikaw" by Celeste Legaspi

5 "I Gotcha" 3:58 Lupe Fiasco
Pharrell Williams
Lupe Fiasco

The Neptunes
6 "The Instrumental" 3:26 Lupe Fiasco
Mike Shinoda
Jonah Matranga
Shaun Lopez
Chris Robyn
John Gutenberger
Lupe Fiasco

Mike Shinoda

  • Contains a sample of "Nestle" by Far

7 "He Say, She Say" 4:12 Lupe Fiasco
Burt Bacharach
Hal David
Lupe Fiasco
  • Featuring Gemini,
    Sarah Green


8 "Sunshine" 3:55 Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco Soundtrakk

  • Contains a sample of "Friend To Friend" by Diana Ross

9 "Daydreamin'" 3:55 Lupe Fiasco
Craig Kallman
Dave Mackay
Sylveer Van Holman
Raymond Vincent
Lupe Fiasco

Craig Kallman

10 "The Cool" 3:46 Lupe Fiasco
Kanye West
Dexter Wansel
Lupe Fiasco Kanye West

11 "Hurt Me Soul" 4:22 Lupe Fiasco
Tony Camillo
Mary Sawyer
Lupe Fiasco Needlz

  • Contains a sample of "Stay With Me" by Cecil Holmes

12 "Pressure" 4:47 Lupe Fiasco
Sean Carter
Mike Melvoin
Bill Schnee
Lupe Fiasco


13 "American Terrorist" 4:40 Lupe Fiasco
Armando Corea
Lupe Fiasco


14 "The Emperor's Soundtrack" 2:56 Lupe Fiasco
Michael Schenker
Lupe Fiasco Soundtrakk

  • Contains a sample of "Between the Walls" by UFO

15 "Kick, Push II" 4:11 Lupe Fiasco
Brandon Howard
Lupe Fiasco Brandon Howard
16 "Outro" 12:13 Lupe Fiasco Chris & Drop

Chart positions

Chart (2008) Peak
Dutch Albums Chart 74
U.S. Billboard 200 8
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 2
U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums 1
UK Albums Chart 31

Grammy Wins And Nominations

Grammy Awards
Year Category Genre Title
2007 Best Rap Solo Performance (Nomination) Rap "Kick, Push"
Best Rap Song (Nomination) Rap "Kick, Push"
Best Rap Album (Nomination) Rap Food & Liquor
Best Urban/Alternative Performance (Won) Rap "Daydreamin'"


  • Wasalu Muhammad Jaco − executive producer, main performer, composer
  • Chill − executive producer
  • Jay-Z - executive producer, featured vocals
  • Sarah Green – featured vocals
  • Gemini – featured vocals
  • Jonah Matranga – featured vocals
  • Iesha Jaco - featured vocals
  • Jill Scott – featured vocals
  • Matthew Santos – featured vocals
  • Soundtrakk – producer
  • Prolyfic – producer
  • The Neptunes – producers
  • Mike Shinoda – producer
  • Craig Kallman – producer
  • Kanye West – producer
  • Needlz – producer
  • Chris & Drop - producer
  • Brandon Howard – producer
  • Chuck Anderson – artwork


External links

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