Lupe Fiasco

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About Lupe Fiasco

A brilliant lyricist with a nimble, self-assured flow, Lupe Fiasco has shaped a career with juxtapositions that have grown continually more complex and rewarding since he arrived on the scene in the mid-’00s. The Chicago rapper born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco in 1982 manages to be both a pop star and a conscious-rap cult hero, able to skate through references to Nietzche, metaphors about yoga, and the excess of hip-hop culture with an easy nonchalance. With a flea-market mixing board and a stack of used vinyl, Fiasco began creating music in his father’s basement at 18, eventually finding inspiration in the thoughtful lyricism and jazz inflection of artists like Nas and The Watts Prophets. Fiasco’s record deal in the early ’00s was the first of many rocky major-label relationships, but the mentorship of JAY Z and an attention-grabbing verse on “Touch the Sky” from Kanye West’s Late Registration made Food and Liquor one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2006. On that record and its 2007 follow-up, The Cool, Fiasco’s verses were loaded with ideas and delivered with dexterous flourish, musing on small pleasures—like his love of skateboarding—and the impending apocalypse alike. When his third album, Lasers, was released in 2011 after a protracted label battle, the rapper’s dedicated cult following was rewarded with an artistic journey that had grown increasingly cinematic and conceptually ambitious. Fiasco’s layered, string-adorned 2015 release, Tetsuo & Youth, was another critical and popular triumph, filled with moments that rushed by in a glittering sweep. True to form, it was a Fiasco album with depth that revealed itself after repeated listens, emblematic of an artist who has never shied away from big ideas.

Chicago, IL, United States
February 16, 1982
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