interview LUPE FIASCO  (June 2006) | Interview By: Yash

  Dubcnn 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.

As ever you can read or listen to this exclusive Dubcnn interview and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to yash@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in June 2006

Questions Asked By: Yash

Lupe Fiasco Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio Here


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.

Dubcnn: 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.

Dubcnn: 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 his music.

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 toward women.

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 Here

Full Interview In Audio Here




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