Ever since the public became aware Lupe Fiasco’s punk rock band, Japanese Cartoon, fans of the rapper have patiently waited to hear an album from the collective, which consists of Lupe, bassist Graham Burris, keyboardist Matt Nelson, and producer Le Messie. The fans got their wish when the group release the EP In The Jaws of The Lords of Death in July.
Speaking recently to Complex, Lupe provided a track-by-track breakdown of the release, which consists of nine tracks.
Speaking on the EP’s opener, “Jaws,” Lupe explained the project’s unusual name. “The title In The Jaws of The Lords of Death comes from [my friend] from the clothing brand Maharishi. He mentioned some Buddhist warrior monks who wear these red collars with teeth—not real teeth—embroidered into them. That represents that they’re living in the jaws of the Lords of Death and any day [the Lords of Death] can chew them up and swallow them. So they live every day to the fullest with death on their backs.
“The track was kind of like a biography of what we were trying to say, what the band represented, and some of the topics we were talking on. It’s very general,” said Lupe of the cut itself.
The frantic “All Sabatoge!!! (STSO)” was a different direction for the group, revealed Lupe. “I just felt we needed something with a little bit more energy, a little bit less fake British accent. And at the time, songs like ’Heirplanes’ were out and we were getting reactions. And it seemed like the British accent thing was becoming a hindrance to some people. We did ‘All Sabatoge!!! (STSO)’ as a tribute to Bad Brains. If I could make a Minor Threat record, this is what it would sound like.”
The Chicago emcee, who noted Radiohead as influences on songs such as “Heirplanes” and “Crowd Participation,” said that fans could hear which songs were recorded earliest by how thick his British accent is on them. “Firing Squad” was one such track. “All the early records are influenced by punk so they have the fake British accent on it and ‘Firing Squad’ was one of those.”