With Kenny Dennis III, David “Serengeti” Cohn continues to develop one of the quirkiest fictions in hip-hop. The storyline emerged on 2006’s Dennehy as a weird Chicago in-joke, just a few songs like “[Brian] Dennehy” and “Ozzie Guillen” speckled amidst an array of sketches — check the creepy drug dealer on “Meth” — and navel-gazing backpacker rhymes like “Critters.” It is now a lyrical meta-verse, with each installment adding details to this 70s pornstache-wearing sports fanatic, O’Douls guzzler, washed up early 90s rapper who once battled Shaquille O’Neal as a member of Tha Grimm Teachaz, and current occupant of a garage.
The cover art for Lupe Fiasco’s sequel to his 2006 debut, Food & Liquor, is shrouded in all black, a design shtick historically associated with emotional disruptions: Prince’s violently pessimistic funk, Jay-Z’s uncharacteristically poignant bouts of confidence, Metallica’s awkward growth spurt from thrash metal prodigies to corporate-rock dinosaurs. Yet on Food & Liquor II, the Chicago MC continues on as always. He criticizes the AmeriKKKan government on “Ital [Roses],” just as he did with 2011’s “Words I Never Said” (off the commercially successful Lasers) and the original Food & Liquor‘s “American Terrorist.” He declares that his outrageously unvarnished opinions are mere expressions of love for his audience on “Heart Donor,” just as he did with Lasers‘ “The Show Goes On.”