UPDATE MAY 21 5:00 P.M.: Hip-hop heads can now check out the full version of "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" as Lupe Fiasco linked the YouTube world premiere from his Facebook page only a half hour ago. The track is as on point as the excerpt suggested and better yet, by the video's end a drop date is given for the first installment Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album. Mark your calendars for September 25, 2012.
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ORIGINAL POST MAY 2:04 P.M.: For rapper Lupe Fiasco, there's no major label drama with Atlantic Records over his artistic endeavor this time around. When he presented his completed forthcoming album Food & Liquor II, a sequel to his acclaimed debut, it was received with approval. There was no impasse, no 'Fiasco Friday' protests, no leaked tracks or self-financed music videos like all that which came to define and ultimately characterize, if not compromise, LASERS, his previous embattled effort.
A single was promised and a release date was swiftly given. "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" drops tomorrow on iTunes, but without Fiasco and his label butting heads like the old days, what would the end product sound like? Everything the rapper has done post-LASERS has been met with trepidation although the free release of his Friend of the People mixtape should have put all the stress to rest.
How much can be gleaned lyrically from half-a-minute? With a wordsmith like Fiasco, plenty. The excerpt showcases the pure poetry of the chorus on a "Words I Never Said" tip in its entirety:
Live from the other side, what you see? / A bunch of nonsense on my TV / Heaven on earth is what I need / But I feel I'm in hell every time I breathe / Reporting live from the other side, what you hear? / A bunch of nonsense all in my ear! Rich man, poor man, we all gotta pay / Cuz freedom ain't free, especially round my way.
How about the verses? Not much is made available, but the MC drops a reference about Ghana, the first African nation to decolonize and gain formal independence, being the e-waste garbage dump of first world nations.
"Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)": Dope beat? Check. Good chorus? Check. Socially conscious lyrics? Check. And that's just thirty seconds. Tomorrow, we'll see what kind of hype the full album release conjures up.