Track Review: Lupe Fiasco ft. Eric Turner, ‘Pick up the Phone’
Chi-Town rapper Lupe Fiasco aims for pop success once again on single “Pick up the Phone” (featuring Eric Turner), though ultimately falls short.
In 2015, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco released a fifth studio album, Tetsuo & Youth. Unfortunately for Lupe, Tetsuo & Youth was incredibly underrated, failing to attain RIAA certification, not to mention Grammy nominations. A shame considering the critical success surrounding the album.
Commercially, Lupe has always had an uphill struggle, with his two most successful albums – Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool (2007) and Lasers (2011) – yielding a huge hit. Long story short, it is clear by latest single “Pick up the Phone” that Lupe Fiasco is looking for another hit. Listening to “Pick up the Phone,” it seems as if the rapper tries too hard to replicate previous successes.
“Pick up the Phone” opens with synthesized pizzicato strings or similar sound effect. The synths are constant throughout the course of the song, though various sounds complement and surround. Overall, the pop-oriented single features excellent production ideas. The problem is that everything doesn’t necessarily work together seamlessly.
Despite full immersion into pop, Lupe Fiasco is solid as always; his flow is intact. He calls upon Eric Turner (of “Written in the Stars” fame) to handle the chorus. Turner is the Matthew Santos (not literally) of “Pick up the Phone.” The chorus is a one-sided phone conversation, which ends with an irritable Turner:
“Hello, can you hear me? / Hello are you there? / Hello, would you pick up the phone? / Hello can you hear me? / Hello, are you there? / Hello, would you pick up the f*ckin’ phone?”
Ultimately, “Pick up the Phone” is okay at best. The feeling after listening even a couple of times is that Lupe could do better. Clearly, this is a single that aims for Lupe’s pop success, but fails to be nearly as effective as “Superstar” or “Show Goes On.” “Pick up the Phone” just doesn’t feel like a hit.