Lupe Fiasco‘s commercial appeal may have dwindled since the days of Food & Liquor, The Cool and Lasers, with a sense among many fans that he never quite reached his potential following that early, dazzling run.
But according to a Grammy Award-winning engineer who is working on the project, Lupe’s next album will put him right back on top.
Last year, the Chicago-bred lyricist announced Drill Music In Zion, a full-length collaboration with longtime producer Soundtrakk (“Kick, Push,” “Superstar”) that was made in just 72 hours as part of an ambitious challenge Lupe set himself.
Months later, it appears the album is in its final mixing stages — and according to engineer Craig Bauer, the man tasked with that responsibility, Drill Music In Zion is the best rap album of the last 10 years.
“The new @lupefiasco record is Rap Album of the year,” he wrote in an Instagram Story on Thursday (January 6). “Nah. Decade. If you don’t feel something after listening to this…. You may want to check your pulse.”
Craig Bauer’s story on Lupe Fiasco’s upcoming album Drill Music In Zion #DMIZ stating it to be the Rap Album of the year! pic.twitter.com/imh3ZSDO1M
— FNF Army (@FNFArmyLupeF) January 7, 2022
Craig Bauer has made no secret of his excitement for Drill Music In Zion. Back in November, the veteran mixing engineer left a comment on Lupe Fiasco’s Instagram that read, “Honestly… it’s the best rap album I’ve ever mixed. ‘Album of the lifetime’ Grammy.”
Keep in mind Bauer worked on Kanye West‘s Late Registration and Graduation, as well as Lupe’s first two albums, Food & Liquor and The Cool.
Bauer isn’t the only one heaping high praise on Drill Music In Zion, though. In a text conversation shared on Instagram in November, Soundtrakk called the album “absolutely mind blowing” and “utter genius,” while Lupe believes it’s his best body of work yet.
“It’s my best album,” he tweeted in October. “Calling it now…may pull back later but for now it’s #1.”
It’s my best album. Calling it now…may pull back later but for now it’s #1… https://t.co/HOIuzzOoix
— TAPE TAPE & HOUSE EP NOW PLAYING (@LupeFiasco) October 2, 2021
The Chi-Town native also compared Drill Music In Zion to Nas’ 1994 masterpiece Illmatic, in addition to teasing a sequel to “Mural,” his nine-minute lyrical masterclass from 2015’s Tetsuo & Youth.
For all the lofty expectations, a release date for Drill Music In Zion has yet to be announced. Given Lupe Fiasco’s habit of teasing albums that never materialize (see: LupEND, Roy, Skulls), fans might be wise to not hold their breath.