Lupe Fiasco sat down to talk about his controversial viewpoints and his upcoming album, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, this week.
Known to be apolitical and someone who doesn’t vote, Lupe considers himself “a stone-cold subversive”:
This time, “the plot,” as Lupe calls it, is to release the album’s first installment in September and the sequel in early 2013, with several singles hitting airwaves along the way.
“It’s meant to tell the great American experience, touch on my ideas, my very rough, very unfinished, unpolished thoughts and feelings about America: American history, American culture, American society, American beauty, American food. You’ll see that laced throughout the album,” he said.
If the first two joints, “B!tch Bad” and “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” are any barometer, the rapper’s reputation for blistering social and political commentary will remain intact. No hoes, kush and rims here, thank you.
If you know his music, you probably recognize him as a gifted lyricist with a wide range of beats and a penchant for material that can go a little over listeners’ heads. It’s not that he’s condescending; he wants their heads a little higher.
Those who know him only through headlines and sound bites may be more familiar with his Occupy Wall Street participation or his occasional inflammatory remark — such as when he called the president “the biggest terrorist” last year.
Asked to elaborate, Lupe said there was a lot of backlash to his comment — especially from a hip-hop community that generally stands behind the country’s first black president — but his barb was more directed at the Oval Office rather than any particular man who has occupied it.
“I think that American presidentssss,” he said, hissing to emphasize the plural, “that position in itself, as well as American foreign policy, it has terrorism in it. CIA agents going to overthrow certain governments — they’re using terrorist tactics. They’re not going in there like, ‘Hey, you wanna have some cake?’ “
“I don’t think it’s being unpatriotic,” he said of his stance. “This nation was founded by rebels and revolutionaries, and its flags were carried across the battlefields by people who were very, very against the status quo and who questioned and criticized. I think it’s following that tradition, but I think we’re in very sensitive times.”
Not only did he decline to waver on his incendiary assessment of the commander in chief, but the day after explaining the aforementioned remarks, he described Obama as “someone who is a great speaker, but kills little children,” during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station.
We got to respect his stance on Politics and the fact that Lupe has stayed true to his roots since the original Food and Liquor dropped back in ’06. He touches on the striking level of violence going on in the country right now, especially amongst youth:
What often seems like savagery among urban youth can often be attributed to a lack of conflict-management skills, he said, and it’s troubling how much of the violence in American cities can be traced back to base aggression and materialism.
Rap isn’t solely to blame, he said, but it often reinforces many of the inner city’s most cancerous characteristics.
“What’s the biggest commercial for aggression, sexuality and materialism? What gets pumped into these kids’ heads?” he asked in a veiled shot at his musical genre. “Taking someone else’s girl, which is so laissez-faire in hip-hop, will get you killed in the streets, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue when you hear it on the radio.”
It’s an interesting notion, that hip-hop should have a conscience, and it’s not something you hear from within the industry, at least outside the likes of Common or Talib Kweli. Perhaps it’s just another example of how Lupe isn’t your typical rap star.
This is Lupe’s fourth album and it’s set to drop September 25th.
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