Song 125: Lupe Fiasco, “Kick, Push” (2006)

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This track came out seven years ago?? C’mon, that’s ridiculous. Seven years is the difference between seventh grade and sophomore year of college. And yet it seems like Food & Liquor came out a couple of years ago.

In a way, that’s what this song is about. “Kick, Push” is a story about getting older, told by a kid who skateboards through the years, amid admonishment and doubt. Just keep going, he seems to be saying, Kick, push. Kick, push. The horns are neither celebratory nor maudlin, but somewhere in between, helping the kid navigate his course. (This in particular is an interesting choice, since Lupe Fiasco performance that made the world take notice, Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky,” had horns that pushed everything higher, higher, higher. These horns push through, through, through.)

One thing that hip-hop does better than most kinds of pop music is storytelling. It took a little while for hip-hop to get there, but once it did, all bets were off. Country (or whatever its mall-ready equivalent is called these days) still does it, but with a few occasional exceptions, rock seems to have given up that ghost. That’s fine. That leaves more room for guys like Lupe Fiasco.

I think it’s safe to say that Fiasco, despite some subsequent hits, hasn’t made anything as good as Food & Liquor. But he’s still young, and there’s always time. Kick, push. Kick, push.

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