Lupe Fiasco Biography

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 West’s 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 year’s The Cool wove a loose concept around a character from the rapper’s first album, and was greeted as one of the year’s 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.

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