[Flashback] Japanese Cartoon – In the Jaws of the Lords of Death*

*Previously on YKFS blog in September 2010

The year after Kanye West blind-sided pop music by freeing his inner torch singer on the critically acclaimed 808s & Heartbreaks, his West Side connection, Lupe Fiasco, let loose his inner punk rocker on the even more unpredictable In the Jaws of the Lords of Death. But, in direct contrast to Ye's clearly branded tunes, Lupe's guitar-grinding post-punk music was clandestinely leaked to the web under the unknown band name Japanese Cartoon. For weeks after the release of the first singles––which featured Lupe singing in a faux British brogue––the rapper feigned as if he had nothing at all to do with the tracks. And though he wasn't exactly foolin' anybody, Lupe had managed to impress nearly everyone. In the Jaws of the Lords of Death gave new and old Lupe fans a splendid set of '80s flavored rock. It was cool music from a mysterious punk band with a famed frontman whose primary Grammy-grabbing forte is hip-hop. And yet, despite that successful genre-jumping accomplishment, accompanied by the promise of more to come, Japanese Cartoon has thus far turned out to be little more than a clever experiment by a brilliant rap artist who seems to bore quickly and who threatens to retire from hip-hop often. Still, the project provided Lupe Fiasco (aka Lupin III) with a much-wanted opportunity to flex his creative muscles. It also gave listeners a chance to hear and see that when it comes to making music, Lupe is an Akira-like force to be reckoned with. – SP


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