Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, 17 February 1982, Chicago, Illinois, USA. This Chicago-based rapper made his national breakthrough in 2006 after over five years on the sidelines, with a major factor in his success his friendship with the ubiquitous Kanye West.
Rapping from an early age, he adopted his unusual stage moniker from a childhood nickname and made his first recordings as a member of the group Da Pak. Despite being briefly signed to a major label, Da Pak imploded at the start of 2001 leaving Lupe Fiasco to pursue a solo career. This proved as abortive as his experience with Da Pak and the collapse of Arista Records in 2004 left the rapper without a musical home. A switch to Atlantic Records coincided with an upturn in his fortunes, notably a guest appearance on Wests hit single Touch The Sky. Fiasco also began to make a big noise in the underground press with a series of limited edition mixtape releases under the Fahrenheit 1/15 title. His 2006 debut studio album, Food & Liquor, was a mixed bag, eschewing big hitting samples and guest artists in favour of free-form expression and musical dilettantism, often at the expense of structure and coherence. However, the lush Hurt Me Soul, the Jill Scott -assisted Daydreamin (which won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance), and the party tunes Kick, Push and I Gotcha, all served notice of a potentially major talent.
The following years The Cool wove a loose concept around a character from the rappers first album, and was greeted as one of the years most interesting hip-hop releases. For all its bold experimentation and clever lyrics, however, the album failed to establish Lupe Fiasco as a major star, although the single Superstar (featuring US folk rock artist Matthew Santos) did become a Top 20 hit.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.