Apparently, to the eyes (and ears) of Oregonian columnist John Canzano, Lupe Fiasco is to the Trail Blazers as Lee Greenwood is to the Colorado Rockies.

Lupe Fiasco doesn’t drink alcohol. He doesn’t go to clubs. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t hang with groupies, and the messages in his rap music aren’t about money, jewelry, drugs and gyrating women unless he happens to be mocking the bounty of hip-hop artists who make that their thing.

Lupe Fiasco’s debut album, in fact, is anchored by a song titled, “Kick, Push,” which is an anthem to skateboarding, his favorite hobby. The guy reads comic books, even. And since his hip-hop lyrics are about social and cultural issues, and his antics don’t scream, “LOOK AT ME!” well, he’s been a little slow to get noticed by America.

Basically, Lupe Fiasco is the hip-hop version of the Trail Blazers.

In between a few rounds of Canzano-bashing no more artful or distinguished than the average message board complainer (not that I haven’t done it a few times myself, but don’t people ever realize bitching constantly about a columnist and talk show host is just like writing him a check?) Portland Mercury “End Hits” blogger (and former 76ers guard?) Andrew R. Tonry offers a counterweight:

Last year I interviewed a bunch of Blazers about what they liked, and it wasn™t a bunch of weak sauce.

Sure, Travis Outlaw is good kid, but that doesn™t keep him from bumping the Birdman (œI™mma Fuck Around And Put That Boy Brains On The Table Pick ˜em up, fuck ˜em Let ˜Em Lay).

Yeah, Brandon Roy™s a stand up guy, but the last concert he went to then was E-40 (œYou got a mean throat game and your coochie is serious/ Pussy so good I fuck you on your peroid).

Hey, as nerdy and reductive as the bald man’s foray into music writing may have been, he’s still a hair or two more cutting- edge than Peter Gammons.