Britain’s latest swoon-worthy export, Ed Sheeran, lays down a sweet chorus for Lupe Fiasco’s most laid-back, nostalgic track yet.
Best New Artist Grammy nominee, Ed Sheeran, and one of America’s most profound rappers, Lupe Fiasco have teamed up on an all new song, “Old School Love.” It’s an intriguing move for both superstars.
For Fiasco, “Old School Love” is a leap away from his usual releases. The Chicago native has remained outspoken about his desire to make hip-hop music that doesn’t boast of drugs and misogyny. He’s made a name for himself by remaining socially conscious and by lifting rap to a higher level. This new track doesn’t fall into the tired rap clichés, but it’s also exceedingly more radio-friendly than any of his prior releases. While we love listening to Fiasco when he’s on his soapbox, “Old School Love” will pull in a lot more fans. This will, hopefully, not only bring Fiasco the glory he deserves, but also give him the chance to share the rest of his thought-provoking repertoire with the rest of the world. More Fiasco is a good thing. Promise.
As for Sheeran, “Old School Love” only seems out of place if you haven’t spent any time with the Brit’s debut album. Americans love him for “The A Team” and his sweet collaboration with Taylor Swift on “Everything Has Changed.” But Sheeran has no wheelhouse. He’s far from just another guitar-strumming, soft-rock voice. On “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” Sheeran not only wrote a catchy hook, but spews verse after verse of a fast-paced, semi-autobiographical rap. The ginger has talent and anyone who has spent a little time getting to know him on Spotify or YouTube will agree that his pairing with Fiasco makes perfect sense.
The song itself is good, though nothing to write home about. “Old School Love” is a rap-lover’s lament. Fiasco voices concern over hip-hop’s ever-changing dynamic in the world and culture. He takes a look at the harshness of his hometown and compares it to rap’s rough-around-the-edges persona. It could almost seem like a normal Fiasco song written during an upswing of moods if not for Sheeran’s chorus. The two almost seem disjointed. As if Sheeran showed up with a pretty chorus and Fiasco appeared with a sentimental verse… about something entirely different. Over the looped, cheesy ’80s-’90s piano riff, though, it works. Add in the old-school graphics and vintagey look of the music video and it all comes together a little more.
Here’s hoping “Old School Love” finds Fiasco on the radio and Sheeran’s reputation growing into something more desirable than “dude who sang with Taylor Swift.”