Hip-hop has so many “whys?” Why is Drake taking girls out to the Cheesecake Factory? Why hasn’t Jay-Electronica released his debut album? Why are all these kids talking about J. Cole going platinum with no features? And, most baffling of all, why can’t Lupe Fiasco be consistent?

Bursting out in the mid-2000s as a Kanye prospect, Lupe became every backpacker’s favorite rapper with Food & Liqueur, a great piece of socially conscious hip-hop that had fans of Talib Kweli salivating. It was a smart album, and Lupe seemed to cement himself as a genius with follow up The Cool. And then it all fell apart.

At this point, his 2011 dud Lasers has too much baggage surrounding it to dive into objectively. Lupe claimed Atlantic was making him go for a more pop-oriented sound, something that simply did not work on any level. He was then forced to attempt to win back his fan base with a direct sequel to Food & Liqueur. Unfortunately, no one was buying it, this despite the title The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 (no, really). Funny thing is, Lupe did bounce back in 2015 with Tetsuo & Youth, a true return to form with one of his finest songs, “Murals.” And, after promising three albums in 2016 and delivering a big box of nothing, what does he do in 2017? Disappoint.

DROGAS Light isn’t quite the same level of commercialized pop as Lasers, but it seems to have the same motivating factors behind it. Lupe dives into modern rap trends, going for a trap sound and biting flows off the “mumble-rap” titans like Young Thug and Future. The results could charitably be considered mixed at best. Certainly Lupe’s high energy style flows well with the more rapid-fire, gaudy songs like opener “Dopamine Lit,” or the choppy “Jump.” But dear Yeezy in heaven, does it drag everywhere else. The overproduced synths of “Law” find Lupe’s flow melting into lethargy and “City of the Year” would probably be fun if it actually was Young Thug or Lil Yachty on the cut.

The album’s back half, meanwhile, is completely indefensible, featuring some of the schlockiest pop-rap in recent memory. “Pick Up the Phone” has glossy, plucked MIDI-esque strings and has Lupe obsessing over a girl not texting him, comparing the process to Russian Roulette. He gives Drake a run for his money in creepy desperateness, and the near Mumford and Sons chorus with sickening guitar is painful. “It’s Not Design” is both a rip off of Childish Gambino and Daft Punk, which is impressive for audacity if not for sound. “Wild Child” is sunny California rap apparently made by a man who’s never seen the sun. “More than My Heart” thankfully ends the suffering, but not before cotton candy sweetness that feels as natural as synthetic weed has settled in.

Outside of the opener, the serviceable beat on “High” and “Jump,” the only reason to pick up DROAGS is southern beast Big K.R.I.T. delivering a ferocious verse on “Tranquillo” that urges the world to “be reborn!” Apparently, Lupe didn’t take that advice to heart.

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