This afternoon, a new in-depth piece by Thomas Golianopoulos for Grantland investigated a possible hidden meaning to Lupe Fiasco‘s fifth album, Tetsuo & Youth, which saw release as you know at the top of the year in January.
In brief, said hidden meaning: the album tells a story in reverse.
And though unconfirmed by Lupe himself, Golianopoulos breaks it down with compelling clues and interviews MoeZ’art (producer on “Prisoner 1 & 2” and “Deliver”) and an Atlantic A&R for all-new insight. They don’t know for sure either, but their input adds even more to the depth of the examination of the album as a whole. Also, quite frankly, they’re not sure either but they wouldn’t put it past them either.
Here’s a few excerpts from the piece, in full here. (This article is a great reminder why Grantland is my first go-to, in part too because of its extensive NBA coverage.)
At about the 54-minute mark of the conversation, Skee gave the floor to Lupe for one last album plug. “This is the album, you know what it is,” Lupe said while holding up the physical CD, flashing the cover art, which he had painted. “I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy it, and there’s a lot to it.”
At this point, he flipped the CD over to display the track list. The CD was also upside down. He ran his index finger down the tracklist, up, and then back down again. He wore a knowing smile throughout. “Put on your thinking caps. Go in a nice dark room every so often and just put it on, let it play all the way through and have fun.” This little gesture sparked something in Lupe Fiasco fans, a fervent, imaginative bunch to begin with. They have since flooded message boards, Reddit forums, rap blogs, and the annotation website Rap Genius with theories on Tetsuo & Youth — the most interesting of which argues that the album is meant to be played in reverse from Track 16 to Track 1.
BONUS: The part on “Adoration of the Magi” doesn’t mention the video for it that dropped earlier this month. But to me, the video supports the explanation that Lupe co-signed (seen below). Easily one of my faves on the album and of the year in general. (NSFW…)
Read the full Grantland investigation here.