Posted in Blog Entries  by Adi

No, he is not a conventional rapper. He hated early Hip Hop, because the genre degraded women. He is a Muslim who doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. He does not wear a gold chain, because it bothers him when he’s skateboarding. He is Lupe Fiasco, The Coolest.

Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known as Lupe Fiasco, was born on February 17th, 1981. He is the fifth child of nine brothers and sisters, and was originally put off by hip hop due to its vulgarity and violent images. After hearing Nas’ “It Was Written” album in 1996, Lupe Fiasco was inspired and decided to pursue a career in the hip hop industry. While growing up, Jaco’s mother gave him the nickname “Lu,” which is the last part of his first name. “Lupe” is an extension of this nickname, which he borrowed from a friend from high school. “Fiasco,” he says, “came from the Firm Album. They had the song, ‘Firm Fiasco’. I just liked the way it looked on paper.” Lupe grew up on the Westside of Chicago, which was already a well-established hip-hop city. Artists such as Common, Rhymefest, Consequence, Kanye West and Twista had already put the city on the hip hop map. Nevertheless, an unproven talent does not make the leap from Nobody to Superstar without his own effort. Lupe Fiasco had to experience the hardships of the music industry through setbacks in his early career. The music industry is and remains… a fiasco.

At the age of 19, Lupe Fiasco landed a contract in a group called Da Pak with Epic Records. The band managed to release one unsuccessful single before breaking up. Fiasco hung in there and managed to sign a solo contract with Arista, before being dropped when president and CEO L.A. Reid was fired. During his time with Arista, Lupe Fiasco had made a few guest appearances but had not been able to establish himself in the industry. He began releasing mixtapes and developed a fan base on the internet. Shortly thereafter, Jay Z came around and saw a very talented rapper in Lupe. Jigga offered Fiasco a contract with Roc-A-Fella records. Lupe Fiasco however declined, having already started his own record label, 1st and 15th. Jay Z was working on his “Black Album” at this time. It is a possibility that Jay Z wanted to take Lupe Fiasco under his wing and make him his prodigy as he was getting ready to leave the game himself. Jay Z offered his assistance to Lupe Fiasco by wanting to help out with his debut album. Lupe wisely accepted and his career is slowly coming in full swing.

In 2005, Lupe really started to make an impact on the hip hop world. He appeared on the Kanye West track “Touch The Sky.” Shortly thereafter, he released his first single “Kick, Push,” emphasizing his love for skateboarding. As Lupe’s popularity slowly started to increase, so did the anticipation for his upcoming album Food & Liquor. The album was officially released on September 19, 2006. The album featured production from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, The Neptunes, and more. Lupe chose “Kick, Push,” “I Gotcha” and “Daydreamin” featuring Jill Scott as his album singles. With his album, Lupe Fiasco showed his real class and talent. The album was later nominated for three Grammys including “Best Rap Album.” In the same year, he was voted by GQ as the “Breakout Man of the Year.”

Next up was “The Cool.” In December 2007, the world was blessed with another master-piece by The Coolest. The first single was “Superstar” which featured Matthew Santos, a new artist who has his own album called “Matters of the Bittersweet.” The album has a darker musical feel to it due to Lupe’s suffering from recent setbacks. In 2007, Lupe Fiasco’s father died, his good friend Stack Bundles died, and his business partner and mentor—Charles “Chilly” Patton—was sentenced to 44 years in prison. When asked about the album’s dark side, Lupe Fiasco replied:

“Oh yeah. A lot of loss. I lost my father, I lost my business partner to prison, and I lost some friends. It was a very dark period. It still is in some aspects, but you know, I’m kind of coming out of it. But especially during the time that the album was being cooked, in my head it was a very dark kind of period.”

Lupe is the co-founder and vice-president of 1st and 15th Entertainment, a record label under Atlantic. However, due to the recent setback caused by the arrest and imprisonment of co-founder, CEO, and partner Charles “Chilly” Patton, Fiasco now serves as the current CEO. Lupe also has a major footwear and apparel deal with Reebok’s O.G. marketing plan. He teams up with Mike Jones and Lil Wayne to promote the brand.

Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, and Pharrel also teamed up to create their own group called Child Rebel Soldiers (CRS) in 2007. The band members are currently busy with solo projects, so the band is not in full swing just yet.

This year, Lupe Fiasco is doing a massive tour with Kanye West. Kanye is touring the US with his Glow in the Dark tour. Lupe Fiasco is opening for Kanye along side with N.E.R.D and Rihanna. Having personally been to the Glow in the Dark concert, I can honestly say that Lupe Fiasco put on a show that’s on par with Kanye West. Lupe opened his show with a remix of The Coolest. Lupe Fiasco has announced that the remix is one of the songs from his upcoming remix album of The Cool. French house musician Justice is teaming up with Lupe to create a hot new version of the album.

As far as religion is concerned, Lupe Fiasco has been open and honest about his Islamic faith. He has noted the importance of religion in his life, stating: “Well, I was born Muslim, so Islam plays a part in my life and everything I do, to a certain extent. I’m not like the poster boy for Islam… I still got my flaws and stuff like that, so I don’t really wear that on my sleeve… I don’t go to clubs, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, you know like my whole - the whole groupie situation is shut down.”