From the print archives: INTRODUCING... Lupe Fiasco

By Lupe Fiasco

This article first appeared in the print edition of BLAG Vol.2 Nø4 2006

Lupe Fiasco Photographed by Sarah J. Edwards
Lupe Fiasco Photographed by Sarah J. Edwards

Two Parts Business...One Part Music....No Prequel

I've been wearing glasses since I was like 3 or 4 years old. So, I always had a corrected view of the world with instances in between. When I either had broke them or when I was in the throws of chasing the cool and hitting the scene - where I saw a world distorted and untrue. I don't know how that has affected me to any particular extent of thoroughness on the matter, but I suppose it has affected the different routes I chose and turned me into the person into whom I grew.

I wrote the previous couple sentences to a kind of distorted chopped and screwed Johnny Cash "A Boy Named Sue" melody I had in my head. Sometimes my motivations and modus operandi for things makes me chuckle to myself, but most times I just let them go unexplained for dread of having to explain. I don't like to explain some things. It takes too long. I used to take off my glasses and look at the world in what to me would be normal, but at the same time not normal because that was not how the world was supposed to look according to the normal people. A very blurry place. I was always since birth a walking contradiction. A very human trait, I might add though. Naturally not in the norm, but doomed to have to see the world normally through something artificial. What a trade off. Especially dwelling in a realm where authenticity is so valued and revered. And I didn't do that myself. I was left with a good set of ears and a normal set of vocal chords though. Two of the basic prerequisites for a career in music. The examples of Ray Charles, Mr. Wonder and The Blind Boys Of Mississippi, more than support that sight is not a necessity for blending sounds together. I do thank God immensely for the gift of it though nonetheless. Thanx God!

Glasses do automatically place you comfortably in the ranks of the perceived educated and weird though. The Nerds. The social outcasts driven to form our own society on the outskirts of the lands of the normal people. I think this exile from normal society has given us nerds the ammunition and motivation to develop social commentary, to speak out and revolt against the excess and problems of normal society and because we are not in it, we can see the forest and really critique it from afar with precision. Or at least that is what I think. Take the basic tools for building music and put that with a drive to comment on society and you get...No Comment...

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23 now but closely gaining on 24 feels like I'm a good 40 though. I can’t think of what Remo Williams’ teacher said when he asked him how old he was. Something like, ‘for a man I am old, but for a mountain I'm just merely beginning’. Plus, my glasses make me look older so I've been told.

Since I was old enough to speak I've been speaking. I speak over music because I can’t draw or express myself visually with any kind of merit-able attention. I can only draw one thing really. It’s a hill with a tree and two birds flying next to it. I call my unmasteredpiece "Trilly & Truly". I express because I feel like I just need to sometimes. Hip hop just happens to be the musical medium, pigeon-holed because of my upbringing and environment, and my God-given knack to be really good at it.

I do have other ideas that I can’t realize musically, so I started to practice "Righteous Kung Fu." I love toys. I love cartoons. I love art. I love writing. I love comics. I love skating. I love clothes (streetwear though). So I started doing what I love. I can sit in a toy store or a sneaker store for hours. So, I built a company that allows me to do that. A kung fu that is righteous will always prevail even in defeat. 1st & 15th is my musical facility. With the business backbone and uncanny charisma of my longtime associate and partner Chilly, we've been churning out fine, smooth product – if I may say so myself – for about 5 years now. One of those products is my solo debut "Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor." My very humble edition to the shelves of local record shops, Godwillingly, sometime in the 1st quarter of 2006. It’s an account of some of my experiences on the beautifully seedy westside of Chicago. It also serves as a digital soapbox for some good old-fashioned social commentary.

Tony Schwartz said something to the effect of "The most terrible sounds in the world come out of the mouths of people." I pray I don't fall into that category of humanity. Peace.


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