Cruising in a white Lamborghini with too-many-to-count diamond encrusted chains around his neck is not what you’ve come to expect in a Lupe Fiasco video. Unless, of course, he’s making a larger point. For “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” from Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album, Lupe takes it to the streets of Chicago. With creepy glowing eyes he gives dap to the guys on the block. If the possessed glowy eyes were any indication of the surprises to come we should have expected to see him sitting on a porch rapping next to cartoon characters, one that happens to roll a joint, while two others shoot dice. Oh yeah, and another drinks a 40.
Pete Rock’s dissatisfaction with the sample of his 1992 “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” didn’t stop Lu’ from moving forward with the Alex Nazari directed video to the first single of his upcoming album. The video captures “around [Lupe’s] way,” which is similar to other ‘hoods across America. The corner stores, the random people on the corner, the liquor stores on every block, it’s all shown here. On the rooftop overlooking the city seems to be the only place Lupe gets peace as he raps, “Freedom ain’t free around my way” in army fatigue cargo pants. Conceptually the message seems to be more in the lyrics than what’s portrayed in the video at first glance. If you pay close attention you catch the subtle point he’s making about rappers whose image is all about bling, rented cars and getting high. Using the cartoon characters he’s obviously calling those type of rappers cartoons. If you caught that then the ending all makes sense. He pulls into a garage where he hands over the keys to the Lambo before the camera focuses on the sign on the wall that reads: “Exotic Car Rentals.” It’s not hard to tell what Lupe really thinks of all the posturing and glorification of destructive habits in hip-hop. You just have to watch closely.
Video: Lupe Fiasco “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)”