The Cool


Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. The Cool goes for softer, jazzier R&B hooks, yet the lyrics are even tougher in their street-level attack on hip-hop materialism.
  2. 70
    Fiasco approaches his second album as if it's his last chance to get all his conflicted ideas out into the open.
  3. The Cool becomes another quite good 70-minute album that could have been a damn flawless 50-minute album with a bit of editing.
  4. This is rap of mesmerising, addictive quality, written and delivered by a master in charge of every aspect of his craft.
  5. This Chicago MC keeps high-concept gibberish to a minimum, packing his second album with rhymes about robots and skateboards that nonetheless roll with the sort of swagger which leaves other brainbox rappers red-faced and grasping for their inhalers.
  6. A comparatively sterile shadow of its predecessor.
  7. 'Superstar' boasts a sanguine hook and a sophisticated mess of rhymes about fame and backlash and fandom and such. Unfortunately much of the rest of the record lacks this clarity, and while the first part of that “sophisticated mess” description remains valid the second part becomes dominant.
  8. Whether he delivered on the full extent of what he wanted to achieve is up for debate; luckily, he's good enough that even when he comes up short, he's still better than most.
  9. The music is what makes Lupe's pretensions palatable.
  10. Lupe Fiasco's intelligent lyrics and strong beats keep him a comfortable arms-length away from hip-pop, without displaying any signs of the arrogance of a Kanye West, just an intelligent social awareness.
  11. 60
    The CD is loosely tied together by a browbeating concept that condemns the glorification of Scarface-style violence and disposable pop-rap, but the moralism is as trite as a Tony Montana reference.
  12. 60
    There's a psyche-rock track with UNKLE on here, for chrissakes. But yeah, dude has skills.
  13. Even considering the over-abundance of elaboration on all fronts, it's a credit to Lupe that he has made an album that cannot be processed after one or two listens, and if you have the time, its inscrutability turns into mere complexity.
  14. You're left with an album that succeeds despite itself, but succeeds nonetheless.
  15. Surprisingly, The Cool works as an album despite its many obvious flaws: the pop tracks are as good as anything from his debut, and his attempts to branch out are at least hit and miss, with exciting tracks like ‘Little Weapon’ and ‘Dumb It Down’ breaking the monotony of his soapbox moments.
  16. The problem is that he hasn’t yet developed a signature sound that immediately identifies a track as his own, nor is he capable of writing the sort of provocative rhymes that stand out.
  17. Make no mistake, The Cool's stuffy and its plot a bitch to decipher (only four joints detail the story), but every 16-bar verse is stuffed, even the glitzy Snoop collab, "Hi-Definition," with zingers garnishing crates of encrypted metrical compositions that demand critical analysis from student groups of no more than four, no less than two to a table.
  18. It turns out randomness makes for a surprisingly unifying concept.
  19. He makes UNKLE and Fall Out Boy sound fresher than Tricky Stewart.
  20. This is certainly a breath of fresh air in what was a slow year for hip-hop.
  21. Lupe Fiasco and his producers--mostly Soundtrakk--have clarified the lyrics and brought out the hooks. The result is a three-act allegory that’s also one of the year’s best hip-hop albums.
  22. A neat trick folded into The Cool is that Lupe proves rap is still creative enough to indulge bugged-out ambitions, and he doesn't just brag about what a smart-ass he is.
  23. Fiasco builds on that promise [in "Food & Liquuor"] exponentially with the triumphant Cool, which gets extra style points for bringing back the idea of the headphones hip-hop album.
  24. The Cool picks up right where "Food & Liquor" left off, once again using his Muslim background and Chi-Town sensibilities to inform his perspective without being rigidly bound by either.
  25. Lupe’s new sophomore disc, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool (Atlantic), is way too long.
  26. Though there's much to admire about Fiasco's idealism and poetic skill, he can also be annoying the way an excessively, politically correct person in your social circle can be annoying.
  27. Though its conceptual component feels fuzzy and abstract at best, The Cool oozes geek chic with terrific songs, smart, dense lyrics, and nimble, eclectic production.
  28. Q Magazine
    This doesn't disappoint, adding emotional depth to his complex rhyming and heft to the productions. [Mar 2008, p.103]
  29. Uncut
    This simply sounds like junior Jay-Z. [Mar 2008, p.96]
  30. The Wire
    The best cuts come courtesy of Chi-town's Soundtrakk, whose Native Tongues love knows no bound, while newcomers Chris & Drop provide notably solid beatwork for 'Gold Watch.' [Apr 2008, p.71]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 235 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 101
  2. Negative: 2 out of 101
  1. Oct 17, 2010
    Love Lupe. Gotta start with that it's a shame that Lasers is still not out, and it won't be out for like 5 more months. This album has greatLove Lupe. Gotta start with that it's a shame that Lasers is still not out, and it won't be out for like 5 more months. This album has great hip hop and rap on it. Lupe is a great lyricist, and hopefully he doesn't leave that mentality. Full Review »
  2. Mar 22, 2015
    10/10 ................................................................................................................................................
  3. Aug 12, 2014
    One of the most underrated hip hop albums of our time. This album is incredibly introspective and deserves WAY better reviews fromOne of the most underrated hip hop albums of our time. This album is incredibly introspective and deserves WAY better reviews from critics...When this album first came out me and my brother listened to it for MONTHS...I recommend this album to anyone who wants an incredible concept album Full Review »