• Record Label: Atlantic
  • Release Date: Jan 20, 2015
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 265 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 265
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  1. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    A Musical movie, that almost never misses a beat. An intellectually, and emotionally engaging album for all hour and half it goes through. Lupe Fiasco doesn't hold back - this almost crosses over from Hip Hop to verbal art at certain moments.
  2. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Mural...the rhyme schemes and his flow as well as the beat are immediate attention grabbers.

    "Now what's a coffin with a scratched ceiling?"

    "My rap position was black condition and activism
    Ammunition for abolition, missions attackin' systems
    But they're not apt to listen, 'less it's droppin' on Activision!
    Are we apps or are we bodies filled with apparitions?
    Operating applications, stuck inside a Apple prison
    Chicken hack and download updates that lack religion"

    "Defeat Samsara achieves Nirvana and brilliance"

    Blur My Hands is a final middle finger to atlantic...also connects with Dots & Lines...

    "It's takes courage to run on these roadways" - Blur My Hands
    Dots & lines separate driving lanes on the freeway.

    "Go straight, dooon't sign" Go straight (stay in your lane, or end up like James Dean, as references at the end of No Scratches...which uses a car metaphor), don't sign (don't sign a record deal)

    "And a line, and a line, and a line, and a line, and a line, three angels"

    All those lines are lines of text in a contract, three guardian angels telling him don't sign...

    Also...Don't sine. As in sine wave. Remember learning about those in (sacred) Geometry class?

    There's also drug wordplay/entendres "And a line, and a line, and a line, and a line, and a line, three angels" Angel dust anyone?

    Immaculate mother of the holy soul
    On behalf of the overdose
    We come to you uncomfortable in our ways
    Please don't slam the door all in my face

    - Madonna (sounds like walking into an AA or NA meeting)

    The hook on Deliver describes all the grimy verses he got on Chopper (who all went off) and why peace of man and the pizza man don't come here no mo.

    "They hit him up with that chopper / She was holdin' him (hole in him), in her hands, just like stigmata..." - Madonna. Gets me thinking about Antonio Martin. I saw the live stream of the aftermath and heard her crying...reeeaaally hit me deep. Mothers In the Hood.

    I could go on about some of things I've discovered as well as notified by other avid Lupe listeners. Point being this album has depth, and that means longevity. Along with fantastic production, hooks, features (Terrace Martin on the sax bruh woo!) and strong delivery as well as varying flows from Lupe, this album is a masterpiece.

    Buy it. Tell your homies or whoever else is sleeping. Immerse yourselves. Peace...
    Expand
  3. Jan 21, 2015
    9
    Lyricism is unprecedented. Only a few moments deny this album perfection. Each cut is lyrically complex, with rhetorical modes that take multiple listens to comprehend. Bravo, Lupe. Bravo.
  4. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    As far as Lupe albums go this may be his all around best work , he has disregarded the desires of his major label and pressed on to release what is potentially his best album yet. The concept of this album reassures listeners that he has never lost his way and also reinforces the concepts of doing more than being a typical artist. Some of the best tracks are "Mural" a 9 minute track ofAs far as Lupe albums go this may be his all around best work , he has disregarded the desires of his major label and pressed on to release what is potentially his best album yet. The concept of this album reassures listeners that he has never lost his way and also reinforces the concepts of doing more than being a typical artist. Some of the best tracks are "Mural" a 9 minute track of straight lyricism and in depth wordplay, "Blur My Hands" which describes placing a positive turn on flipping the bird and hating others, "Adoration of Magi" a song about materialism and living the fast life, and also the lead single "Deliver". This album is DEEP and my take a few listens to understand all the concepts but nevertheless is close to a classic like Food and Liquor and also The Cool...this actually may even be better. Expand
  5. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    Tetsuo & Youth is a front runner for Album of the year. The Originality and Lyricism displayed on this album is a rare accomplishment in todays hip-hop culture. This is also Lupe Fiasco best work since The Cool which happens to be my favorite cd of all-time. Glad to see this album live up to if not surpass the hype.
  6. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    This is creatively Lupe's best album and that is much appreciated. The lyricism and production is great as well. The fact that people still haven't fully deciphered this album shows that Lupe's complex lyrics are the best in the game and no one is coming close.
  7. Jan 24, 2015
    9
    This album is fantastic. Everything about it is great, Lupe Fiasco is a great rapper. If you haven't listened to it yet, you should. There is really no reason not to.
  8. Feb 11, 2015
    10
    Lupe Fiasco is finally back, with some brilliant material: this album is great on so many levels. The beats, hooks and lyrics are so good. 2015 is going to be a great year for rap.
  9. Jan 25, 2015
    10
    Holy **** HOLY ****.
    Imagine my awe when I realized my favorite rapper had not only been RESURRECTED but had achieved NIRVANA with this **** album.
    Listen. You have to listen to this album. Listen closely and focus. Lupe has created a story for the ages, something done many times before but done in such a way that not many will understand. This is a story of the creation of life, the
    Holy **** HOLY ****.
    Imagine my awe when I realized my favorite rapper had not only been RESURRECTED but had achieved NIRVANA with this **** album.

    Listen. You have to listen to this album. Listen closely and focus. Lupe has created a story for the ages, something done many times before but done in such a way that not many will understand. This is a story of the creation of life, the death of a martyr, and the pursuit and eventual realization of enlightenment. Struggle does even begin to describe the path Lupe takes. Listen to this album all the way through. Then again. And again. And again. And again. Do you see it now? Good.

    Now listen to it backwards. And listen.

    Spring - New life after the harshness of winter takes it all.
    And then...
    They.Resurrect.Over.New - The foretelling of the Second Coming of Jesus of Nazareth, Christ himself coming back to bring humanity into the next level.
    Adoration of the Magi - Christ is reborn, just a baby. The three wise men, the Magi, visit Christ when he is a baby and realizes his purpose.

    Madonna - Christ is killed once more, but no one takes note other than the NEW Madonna because he's just another black kid killed in the ghetto. Listen to the third verse that describes this in detail.

    Deliver - The death of Christ is for nothing, the hood is still doomed to fail under drugs and greed.

    Chopper - "And now, ladies and gentlemen, Lupe Fiasco."

    Why does Lupe wait until halfway through the album to introduce himself?

    Christ has died, now we have Lupe Fiasco, who at this point is another sinner like other gangsters in the ghetto, "just another lost ****

    Winter - The world takes an unfortunate turn and further descends into darkness after the death of Christ was in vain.

    No Scratches - Lupe is tired of waiting for the arrival of a Christ-like figure to save him and the hood.
    **** relied on faith / Hopin’ **** get healed, it’s hopeless **** get real”
    Lupe begins to think of how HE can do something himself to better the situation.

    Little Death - Lupe ponders the wrong in the world, including the hypocrisy of religion. (the gay marriage segment, “They keep the bottles just ot make glass houses / Then climb up to the second floors and throw rocks out it” and the unfairness of life “Where killers go free cause a junkie’s a funky witness”.)

    Body of Work - Lupe considers who he is. He begins to question, "Have I been this?", and, "Realize my begin when I find where my end is", This is where he realizes his future is somebody else's past. He begins to realize he has been reincarnated, and sets out for change.

    Prisoners 1 & 2 - But because of this activism, Lupe is placed in prison for going against the status quo. He becomes bitter and enraged and almost loses his mind. However, somewhere along the line he realizes that the anger is pointless and turns to empathy. Notice how the tone of the verses changes in “Prisoners 2”. Verse 1 is from the point of a prisoner (Lupe?) who hates the CO’s:
    “You should get like life, you should get like woo! / You should get hat twice! You should get refused”.
    But Verse 2 is then about the CO, it’s not from his view but it is much more empathetic, showing that the CO doesn't do his job out of malice but because he has no choice; he’s no freer than the inmates.

    Fall - The turning point of Lupe's life. He has been released from the prison of hate, with more empathy and less aimless anger. Fall starts the death of life to be reborn in spring.

    Dots & Lines - Lupe shuns the materialistic life that runs society. He sets on the path for nirvana. He shall become part of the Sacred Geometry.
    "Don't sign." not only not signing a record deal and becoming a slave to the label and its rewards, but a reference to the sign of the beast which is in the three angels’ message – Don't sin.

    Blur My Hand - Lupe learns forgiveness for others and becomes fully loving. The hook of the song is about a man giving Lupe the finger, but Lupe does not let his anger take his emotions and turns the other cheek, and jokes around with the man. The third verse is him telling people struggling to not go the path of anger, like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” and that he is their number one fan. Also “So you starting at the end, that’s the part where you begin / I skip the bull**** so we can start it where we in” – Lupe has won.

    Mural - Lupe has achieved a higher level of existence, Nirvana. He unloads bars after bars, describing him defeating Samsara and achieving brilliance in all forms.

    Is there even a rating high enough for this album? Listen harder, my friends.
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  10. Jan 24, 2015
    10
    Just fantastic lyricism and word play but not just for the sake of sounding smart. Instead the purpose is to deliver a message and comment on contemporary society.
    Best Lupe album since The Cool and best hip hop album of the past couple of years.
  11. Jan 22, 2015
    10
    Flawless hip hop album. Combines not only rhymes with a lyrical story, but an interpretive journey through emotional double and triple entendres. First listen may leave you scratching your head but a second listen will make you want to dive deeper into this work of art. Highly recommended album.
  12. Jan 24, 2015
    10
    Album of the decade, hands down....take some time and REALLY listen to it. Each time you listen the better it gets and you understand it more. Hip Hop at its finest and waY ahead of its time. Thank you Lupe!
  13. Jan 25, 2015
    10
    You literally feel like a mural is being painted (no pun intended), this album is truly an example of magnificent lyricism and is just a pure representation of hip-hop.
  14. Mar 22, 2015
    10
    10/10 ................................................................................................................................................
  15. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    j snore flopped with the cheerleader chronicles, born **** and then boring ass drive

    WHEN I LISTEN TO THIS **** MY CAPSLOCK BREAKS AND I CANT FAUFOIHAGOIDHPHAGSDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI[PASJHOPGDFJHOPDHO

    LUPE MAKES ME CUM CRINE

    **** SILKY **** FIJI

    I LOVE HOV, AND THAT BOY TIMETOLOOPY IS GOAT
  16. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    This is the best hip-hop (although genre-bending) album I've heard since Hell Hath No Fury.. Yes better than Good Kid Maad City and MBDTF and Yeezus... It's very fitting that he used one of his paintings as the album cover because it's more contemporary art than music. It's like a collage of different emotions, sounds, social issues, textures... I can't stop listening to it. It's a masterThis is the best hip-hop (although genre-bending) album I've heard since Hell Hath No Fury.. Yes better than Good Kid Maad City and MBDTF and Yeezus... It's very fitting that he used one of his paintings as the album cover because it's more contemporary art than music. It's like a collage of different emotions, sounds, social issues, textures... I can't stop listening to it. It's a master at work. I can't believe people are comparing it to his early work - there is no comparison. This is something only he, today, can make.. all his personal and label struggles, all the hate and negativity he gets for trying to be positive.. it has all accumulated towards this. Expand
  17. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    This mad nice b. The beats are hot. This is the perfect example of what a hip hop album SHOULD BE. Real. Lupe brings the tough bars and they all have a spiritual and beautiful meaning behind them. Who else is making music as good as this? Answer: Nobody!
  18. Jan 22, 2015
    10
    This is not an album that will have pop appeal. If you want pop, go listen to Rae Smrrrddddsssfsgdgfsdf or what ever. This isn’t an album that will bump at parties. Lastly, it is most definitely not an album that you can formulate a legitimate opinion about after one listen.

    Let’s move on to what it is. First and foremost, it’s challenging. It’s long, and he’s laying down some seriously
    This is not an album that will have pop appeal. If you want pop, go listen to Rae Smrrrddddsssfsgdgfsdf or what ever. This isn’t an album that will bump at parties. Lastly, it is most definitely not an album that you can formulate a legitimate opinion about after one listen.

    Let’s move on to what it is. First and foremost, it’s challenging. It’s long, and he’s laying down some seriously dense verses (in a true, honest, and very good way). It IS Lupe laying claim on what should undoubtedly be one of the best albums of 2015. This is a Lupe unlike one we’ve seen, both sonically and lyrically. Production is consistent and it varies yet sticks to the “season” theme. There are bars on this album that you won’t pick up on after months of listening. Not to mention “Mural” is better than both Rap God and Control. There’s a reason Kendrick didn’t call out Lupe on that track and Lupe shows why. Instant classic.
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  19. Jan 23, 2015
    10
    Tetsuo & Youth is not just a hip-hop album. Its a Masterpiece, a classic, that proves the amazing skill of Lupe Fiasco. One of the best project in the history of hip-hop.
  20. Jan 21, 2015
    7
    A huge improvement from Lupe lyrics are kicking but it is quite not enough for me I want the old Lupe back from the food & liquor and the cool days he was so dope back then now his music is not like him the album is an improvement but it's not that great it has its moments so I think it's a kick start for him to go back to his true form
  21. Jan 23, 2015
    7
    Had this album been 10, maybe 11 tracks, and had some of the instrumentals been more fleshed out, I think Lupe would have delivered a great project, but as it stands, Tetsuo & Youth is still a step in the right direction for Lupe, but it still has fat in desperate need of trimming. Most of the lyrics and instrumentals on the first half of this project feel so lively and passionate. EachHad this album been 10, maybe 11 tracks, and had some of the instrumentals been more fleshed out, I think Lupe would have delivered a great project, but as it stands, Tetsuo & Youth is still a step in the right direction for Lupe, but it still has fat in desperate need of trimming. Most of the lyrics and instrumentals on the first half of this project feel so lively and passionate. Each interlude is creative and gives the album some personality. However, at a point, the LP loses steam and it feels as though Lupe started scraping the bottom of the barrel. Tetsuo is no Cool or Food & Liquor, but it does show promise. Expand
  22. Jan 31, 2015
    5
    It had great raps. It had many boring songs. The flow from track to track was awful. I was disappointed overall. His best ablums were the first two and nothing since has compared.
  23. Jan 28, 2015
    7
    I wouldn't consider myself a fan of hip hop, but this album was surprisingly palatable. The arrangements and song structures are quite diverse, and they managed to keep my attention throughout which is certainly not easy with 78 minutes of material. I honestly think Lupe shines brightest on the more pop-oriented tracks, because his hooks and melodies are quite good. His rapping gets to beI wouldn't consider myself a fan of hip hop, but this album was surprisingly palatable. The arrangements and song structures are quite diverse, and they managed to keep my attention throughout which is certainly not easy with 78 minutes of material. I honestly think Lupe shines brightest on the more pop-oriented tracks, because his hooks and melodies are quite good. His rapping gets to be a bit monotonous at times though, since his flow is pretty much uniform throughout, and with pretty long songs like these, there were times I found myself waiting impatiently for the choruses to kick in. Expand
  24. Feb 10, 2015
    10
    This album isn't for stupid people. It's under appreciated because a lot of people are only listening for catchy hooks and dope beats. But Lupe serves complex truth and intricate bars. He absolutely did HIS thing.
  25. Jan 21, 2016
    10
    I gave 8/10 at first, but I changed my opinion. It's perfect album. Absolutely perfect masterpeace. I hope that this year he will do the same and destroy 2016 :)))
  26. Jan 22, 2015
    9
    Is this album good? Yes, it's **** fantastic. The only reason I even found out about this release was because my fellow rap enthusiast friend texted me about it. Before this, I didn't even know who Lupe was. Now I can't get enough of Tetsuo & Youth. Lupe is definitely an intellectual with complex lyrics, although sometimes they seem to get too abstract. Some people are complaining aboutIs this album good? Yes, it's **** fantastic. The only reason I even found out about this release was because my fellow rap enthusiast friend texted me about it. Before this, I didn't even know who Lupe was. Now I can't get enough of Tetsuo & Youth. Lupe is definitely an intellectual with complex lyrics, although sometimes they seem to get too abstract. Some people are complaining about the production, but I don't think it is bad at all. It's certainly catchy and not overdone. Expand
  27. Feb 5, 2015
    10
    The one thing I cannot get over with this album is how, from the first listen, I knew I was listening to an album that was special. Truly an artistic accomplishment, Tetsuo & Youth is the album we have been long awaiting from Lupe Fiasco. Food & Liquor and The Cool are great and then Lasers and Food & Liquor II were major drop offs, but in Tetsuo & Youth we have what those first twoThe one thing I cannot get over with this album is how, from the first listen, I knew I was listening to an album that was special. Truly an artistic accomplishment, Tetsuo & Youth is the album we have been long awaiting from Lupe Fiasco. Food & Liquor and The Cool are great and then Lasers and Food & Liquor II were major drop offs, but in Tetsuo & Youth we have what those first two projects were hinting at that; Lupe Fiasco is a special talent. With incredible rapping ability and a message to get out to the world, he is a unique bird in the rap industry and all that was missing was great production, plus an annoying habit of going pop at times. However, here he rectifies these issues and stays focused. One of the best modern rap albums I have honestly heard, this one is as complete an album as one can expect. While only time will tell if it is a classic, I certainly hope it becomes one, because it has all the makings of one. For the 2010s, this one is right there with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (a great comparison really, as I just finished listening to some tracks from MBDTF before reviewing this one and this album reminds me of it a lot) and good kid, m.A.A.d city for me and I say that without hesitation. This album is truly just special. Expand
  28. Feb 15, 2015
    9
    Holy s****. This record deserves far more attention than it has received from the hip hop world, and the music industry in general. Lupe clearly put enormous effort into Tetsuo & Youth. In doing so, he crafted a beautiful and unique conceptual work of art. It's not perfect, but there are no bad songs. Tetsuo & Youth is, if nothing else, a lyrical masterpiece, and certainly requiresHoly s****. This record deserves far more attention than it has received from the hip hop world, and the music industry in general. Lupe clearly put enormous effort into Tetsuo & Youth. In doing so, he crafted a beautiful and unique conceptual work of art. It's not perfect, but there are no bad songs. Tetsuo & Youth is, if nothing else, a lyrical masterpiece, and certainly requires intellectual effort to begin to grasp all the thematic and sonic layers of Lupe's music. ~ 8.5/10 Expand
  29. Mar 5, 2015
    9
    By far, this is Lupe's best album to date! Mural stood out to me the most, it literally paints a sonic image in your mind. You can tell Lupe has matured and adapted to his environment, and Atlantic Records really took a toll on him; he used to be this young guy who had dreams and ambitions, but remained humble and fully practiced Islam. Now, the guy has obviously been affected by the harshBy far, this is Lupe's best album to date! Mural stood out to me the most, it literally paints a sonic image in your mind. You can tell Lupe has matured and adapted to his environment, and Atlantic Records really took a toll on him; he used to be this young guy who had dreams and ambitions, but remained humble and fully practiced Islam. Now, the guy has obviously been affected by the harsh conditions around him, and he's just not the same guy. Of course, that translates into more emotional tracks and more powerful messages in his songs.

    Although this is his best album IMO, my favorite will still be Food & Liquor. Now that's he's free from the shackles of Atlantic records, I hope he can continue to show us his versatility as an artist, and maybe return to that '05-'07 Lupe we all loved.
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  30. Apr 3, 2015
    9
    The best hip hop album of 2015 so far. Lupe's lyrics and flow are on point, as always, and the production is way better than on F&L2 and Lasers. It's a classic album without a doubt. This album gets an A from me. Highlights: "MURAL", "Deliver", "Chopper". Worst songs: I don't really think there's any major weak spot on Tetsuo & Youth.
  31. Apr 22, 2015
    10
    Quite possibly the best rap album of the year. Although some of the hooks aren't top notch, everything else is ten out of ten. I'm very excited his future albums, "The Cool 2" and "Skulls".
  32. Jan 6, 2016
    9
    Almost a year after this album dropped and I still feel the same way about it.
    Let us be short, Tetsuo & Youth is not only a fantastic comeback album, it's a freaking behemoth.
    Lupe is on his lyrical best since The Cool, heck he might be at lyrical and creative peak on here. The production doesn't fail to impress either. Lush, varied and dynamic thanks to the season concept. The
    Almost a year after this album dropped and I still feel the same way about it.
    Let us be short, Tetsuo & Youth is not only a fantastic comeback album, it's a freaking behemoth.

    Lupe is on his lyrical best since The Cool, heck he might be at lyrical and creative peak on here. The production doesn't fail to impress either. Lush, varied and dynamic thanks to the season concept.

    The album begins with a short instrumental "Spring" Following up is the eight minute long hot fire spittery that is "Mural" and the playful "Blur My Hands" ft. Guy Sebastian that emits great vibes.

    The album gets progressively darker and harder the further it progresses. Topics get more serious in "Prisoner 1 & 2" and "Body of Work" and Lupe's rapping gets more intenser and engaging.

    "Winter" is when the album removes all the breaks. With "Chopper" you get an almost ten minute long, 32 bars, 7 savage rappers spit fest. "Madonna" is the album's emotional peak and "T.R.O.N." closes the album off with splendour.

    Tetsuo & Youth is a behemoth.
    Period.

    Fav Tracks: Mural, Blur My Hands, Chopper, T.R.O.N., Deliver, Madonna
    Least Fav Tracks: None
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  33. Oct 25, 2016
    8
    A musically ambitious album, layering many commentaries, unique beats, and inspirations. Breaking traditional song parameters while keeping true to his rap conscious roots, Lupe brings an album that is a true artistic endeavour however, it will not receive classic status as it is very much presented in his off-path style and not marketable utilizing complex lyrical techniques and somewhatA musically ambitious album, layering many commentaries, unique beats, and inspirations. Breaking traditional song parameters while keeping true to his rap conscious roots, Lupe brings an album that is a true artistic endeavour however, it will not receive classic status as it is very much presented in his off-path style and not marketable utilizing complex lyrical techniques and somewhat un-catchy chorus. However, this is Lupe's style and is a true Lupe album, made for the thinker not the drinker; if you enjoyed Food and Liquor, The Cool, or his mix-tapes before Lasers, you will enjoy this album (with one or two you may dislike). Expand
  34. Jan 27, 2017
    9
    Lupe Fiasco here was very innovative and creative, something that was missing on him since "The Cool" dropped. He woke up from his coma and produced an absolute masterpiece. It's also a comeback to form lyrically (or maybe even a consolidation as one of the greatest lyricists ever).
  35. Feb 13, 2017
    10
    love this cd every single song up here is great. the beats are just as good as the raps. its about time lupe put something out since the cool I hope he can keep this up for the next cd he puts out
  36. May 25, 2017
    9
    I put this album at the same level as Food & Liquor and The Cool. Those albums might just edge it out but not by much this album is truly great as well. Listen to it.

    Best Songs: Deliver / Madonna (And Other Mothers In The Hood) / Prisoner 1 & 2
  37. Sep 8, 2017
    9
    Amazing Beats Lupe Makes A Great Effort Lyrically Too
    A Career Maker For Him. Hopefully He Stays Consistent
    He Is Doing Something Unique Specially With The Beats Great Piano Sample In The Song "Mural"
    Very Smart Lyrics Decent Bars
    Respect.
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Feb 12, 2015
    60
    Lupe Fiasco's fifth album is a swirl of double meanings, extended metaphors about yoga and math, and increasingly labyrinthine ways to say "I'm dope."
  2. 58
    The density of Tetsuo & Youth just could have benefitted from even the slightest dose of levity to throw its rhetoric and messages into sharper relief.
  3. Feb 6, 2015
    80
    At the end of the album, it’s more than clear that third, fourth, and fifth listens are demanded to appreciate its scope.