LUPE FIASCO (June
2006) | Interview By: Yash|
recently had the opportunity to speak with an artist with a buzz circulating
through the industry at a rapid pace. Lupe Fiasco is the Muslim MC with
backing from heavyweights including Jay-Z & Kanye West. We discuss his time
working so far, how he deals with the genre that is Hip-Hop against his
religion, discuss his debut album "Food & Liquor," future plans with his
company, working with Kanye and lots more.
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Interview was done in June 2006
Lupe Fiasco Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio
Dubcnn: Jay Z compared himself to you in the sense of coming up in the
industry, how does that feel?
It feels good.
Dubcnn: Are you excited about performing at the Brooklyn festival?
Yea you know but itís bitter sweet though because my manÖone of my big homies
is getting married out in Hawaii.. So itís like either go to the Brooklyn
Hip-Hop festival or go see my man get married so itís kinda bitter sweet
because Iím a miss my manís wedding.
You know in this era of hip hop music, with a lot of club music, and
gangster rap, you kind of developed your own lane, and created your own
identity. The lyrics are honest, and you are a lot different than other
rappers, you have interests in skateboarding, anime cartoons, what not.. What
made you take that route and still keep it hip-hop?
It was two things. It was the creative thing which got really boring you know
talking about the same stuff and listening to the same stuff and from the
artistic side it was like yo let me talk about something else now. Then on a
business side of things itís like when youÖBecause I own my own company 1st
and 15th so on the business side of things it was like when the market is
saturated you got to diversify it and do something else or you will be caught
up in all this saturation.
Now that I own my own company I think both ways and my creativity is directly
tied to the business side and vice versa.
Dubcnn: You had that company for about six years now?
Dubcnn: Do you have any artists signed to your label?
We got 3 other artists besides myself, thereís Gemini whoís a singer. He sings
and he rhymes and then we have a female MC by the name of Shayla G, then we
have an r&b group by the name of Risky which is a female r&b group and then we
have 2 producers Soundtrack.
Dubcnn: Tight so when are you putting out your first artist?
Well we just dropped their mixtapes and we really donít want to be doing too
much. Because my project is so huge and it covers so many areas we donít want
to put our artists out there under the shadow of my stuff because it will just
get looked over so we waiting for the right time to push everything but we
definitely putting their mixtapes out in the streets and online.
Dubcnn: You know I heard your album or some parts of the album got leaked
to the internet, what sort of implications does that have for you?
On the business side it affects the possibility of album sales but I doubt it
because the album that people got is not the real version. I think it was 18
songs or something like that and out of those songs only 6 songs was going to
make the album. So they just got some old stuff that werenít going to make the
album all unmixed and everything else but they got 6 songs that will make the
album. They didnít get the song with Jill Scott or the song with Neptunes, or
the song with Kanye. So itís definitely going to be different.
Dubcnn: They better wait for the real thing then.
Dubcnn: So how did you come up with your name?
Lupe Fiasco came from when I was in high school, my name is Wasa Lu so I used
to rap so I always rapped under like Lu. The Lu Lu lyrical underdog something
like that and it was in high school when I went to change my name I had a
friend named Lupe and me and him was cool so I was like yo Iím going to change
my rap name and Iím going to use your name Lupe. He was like alright cool.
Then the Fiasco came from Nasís album Firm Fiasco. Nas had a album called The
Firm and a song on there called Firm Fiasco and I liked the way Fiasco looked
on paper and so I just used Lupe Fiasco.
Dubcnn: Can you tell us more about the album like who is producing?
We got Needlez, Mike Shinoda, my producerís soundtrack, the Bucannon and then
The Neptunes, Kanye West and thatís about it.
Dubcnn: Can you explain like the meaning of the album title?
Food & Liquor, in Chicago a lot of the corner stores are called Food & Liquor
so I havenít seen that anywhere else in the world like 80% of the stores in
Chicago are called Food & Liquor. So it represents that to me and then on the
other side I donít drink or smoke. Alcohol is like a bad thing to me. So the
liquor represents the bad and the food represents the good.
Dubcnn: You are a fan of a lot of Chicago artists, whatís your favourite
album by a Chicago artist?
Probably Twistaís Adrenaline Rush.
Yea thatís probably mine tooÖHow long did you grind on the Chicago
underground scene before connecting with Kanye?
Actually when I first met Kanye I already had my first record and he had just
produced The Truth for Beanie Siegel so I was already like out. And we didnít
meet like on ďoh letís do some songs togetherĒ It was me like yo whatís up and
that was that. Then over the years we started to like link up and do different
things together. Actually before he was signed to Rocafella I was signed to
Arista. And we were actually trying to get Kanye signed to Arista so itís a
relationship that goes back and forth.
Dubcnn: How does it feel like being underground and the next day being all
over MTV and having everyone speak your name?
Well my situation is kind of weird. You know because I had my first record
deal when I was 18. So my experience in the underground was really short. It
was just through high school being on talent shows and stuff like that. I had
a record deal when I was still in high school. So like 18 all the way up to
now I always been out. It wasnít like an underground thing, I was on MTV like
3-4 years ago. You know what Iím sayingÖAlways been around so it was never a
situation where I was in the underground and then blew up out of the blue.
Itís like everything that is in the works now has been going on for like 6
years. So it ainít been like an overnight rapping on a corner Smack DVDÖit
wasnít like that. This is my third record deal.
Dubcnn: Can you tell us how it is when you and Kanye are in the studio? Is
he like a perfectionist or is he more chilled?
Not really, we only been in the studio once and that was for ďTouch The SkyĒ.
That was really quick because I donít really write so I just go and just do
it. We were in the studio for like an hour, but it was good you know I seen
him in the studio while he was working on stuff with Jay and heís real into
Dubcnn: So what do you do when youíre not recording music?
Iím focused on my other company Righteous Kung-Fu where we do a lot of designs
like fashion and toys and stuff like that. So that be my main focus.
Dubcnn: Do you feel that being a Muslim and being religious effects your
views on certain aspects of the rap industry?
Of course, I donít go to after partyís, I donít like performing in clubs, I
donít do interviews with certain magazines that I feel like Iím exploited
Dubcnn: You know Napoleon from The Outlawz, Heís an artist that shares the
same faith as you and he was telling me about how he was quitting rap because
he said that in the Khoran it says music is harmÖ
Well everybody has their take and a threshold on it. I feel that you can take
your music and if you speak in justly or if youíre changing something
especially in a climate and the way it is today where the voice and only way a
lot of kids hear stuff will get affected by things via music. A lot of kids
canít relate to you know going to like a speech like a lot of kids get their
role models and all that stuff off TV or off a radio station or something like
that. So if you have the opportunity to speak some positivity through those
same outlets so they see that itís something different and you coming with a
good message you know I definitely think you should take that opportunity.
Itís aspects of it and certain stuff in music that people in music shouldnít
be talking about and things they shouldnít be doing. But all music isnít bad.
Dubcnn: You know since 911 people hereÖ Iím a Muslim myselfÖItís like
people are more racist now towards Muslims. What can we do to help change the
views on how people look on Muslim people?
Well you could just be Muslim. The best example that you can do is to show
people is just to be Muslim. Be a true Muslim you know what Iím saying? Of
course youíre human so you gone have contradictions and your success and
failures but if you stick to your thing thatís the best example that you can
give far beyond anything else. But at the same time too, racism been around
forever you know, racism has always been here itís just now on a certain
group. Blacks had racism for 400 years. The most extreme kind of racism and a
lot of the racism came from Arabs you know slave trade was a Arab institution
and thatís what lead to Africans being put into slavery, even the conflict
thatís going on now in Africa in Sudan and stuff like that itís like a
superiority racist thing.
Itís always going to be racism you always gone have that from both parties
from both sides. The world to me is built up on money and racism.
Dubcnn: Do you think you will be as successful as Jay Z 10 years from now?
Well I donít know, success is measured in different ways..
Dubcnn: Like do you want to get involved in all those kind of ventures heís
been in; Clothing line and all that?
Sure, Iím doing it now! Like on a certain level, I got a deal with Reebok just
like Jay Z got a deal with Reebok and I got mine like before my album came
out. You can see kind of the same things occurring to happen. But itís on a
much bigger scale then mine because heís Jay Z and heís rich but you
definitely can see me taking those steps right now to hopefully inshallah be
there one day.
Dubcnn: Ok bro can you tell them when the album is coming out and any last
words you have for the fans?
Overseas I donít know, I think in the UK we pushed it back to like middle of
July, and it come out here on the 27th of June. So I assume it come out 2
weeks later in Europe but sometime in July!
Lupe Fiasco Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio