The Album Is Split Into Two Themes
“There’s songs about America, and there’s songs about rapping,” said Lupe. “America. Rap. Metaphors and similes, Pledge of allegiance, Statue of Liberty. That’s it. The inspiration for the album comes from people like Howard Zinn, Chris Hedges, James Baldwin. It’s me literally trying as best I can in my flawed way and undefined childish manner to try and define America. To explain America and figure it out for my perspective. So it’s raw, it’s abrasive, it’s naive, it’s all of that. Then it’s me…just rapping my A$$ off.”
An example of the split of the album is evident in its introductory track, “Strange Fruition (The Art Of Falling Off).” The first voice you hear on the album is a speech by James Baldwin on the “N-Word” and how it is a word created by Americans. “We invented the word N-Word, white people invented it,” says Baldwin on the track before the Soundtrakk-produced beat drops. The song sets the pace for the album not as a return to form of the old Lupe from Food And Liquor, but as an evolution to what he is now. He’s backing up his bold statements of our homeland with facts from historians.
As Lupe tells it, “Strange Fruition” is a re-imagining of “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. “It’s about slaves in the south, and how they looked like strange fruit in the south. Which is funny, because the song was written by a white guy,” says Lupe. “The fruit has ripened in 2012, it’s still just as strange, just as odd, among the other layers in the song. That’s the “America” portion of the album.