Lupe Fiasco’s Enemy Of The State Inspired By MTV’s ‘Hottest MCs’ List

'Y'all sit at that table, and y'all forget who I am,' he tells Mixtape Daily of our Hip-Hop Brain Trust.

In January, MTV News gave you Pop Week and Rock Week (Jimmy Mont: The beard is rad!) — now it’s our turn. It’s Hip-Hop and R&B Week. What more can you say about that, except check for the most exclusive of exclusives. Like this one. We were originally supposed to do Lupe’s Mixtape Daily segment at some point last year, but his schedule got crazy, ours was nutty, then he climbed that mountain . Major accomplishment, Lupe. Well, last week, the homie came to NY, humble as ever, confident in his rhymes as ever, and we got it done. As you’ll read below, the Mixtape Daily family played a hand in inspiring the tape. How real is that?

This Week’s Main Pick

Street King: Lupe Fiasco

Holding It Down For: Chicago

Mixtape: Enemy of the State: A Love Story

Real Spit: “I had mad titles,” Lupe Fiasco said with a grin when talking about his Enemy of the State: A Love Story mixtape. “I was gonna call it Brain. I had mad titles. But it was fitting, especially going into Lasers and what Lasers stands for, which is chaos, anarchy, rebelling against the system, doing you, individuality. When you do that, you become an enemy to the status quo, you become an enemy of the state. So it stuck, it fit. There we go. It wasn’t from the [Will Smith] movie. I feel like I’m the enemy of the state of hip-hop right now. Because what I’m finnin’ to be is so against what’s going on.”

Lupe’s tape was tapped as one of the best of 2009 . He became inspired to put it together by seeing our 2009 Hottest MCs in the Game list. Fiasco made the 2008 top 10 but was left off last year, chiefly because he didn’t have any current material.

“That’s y’all,” Lupe said about the muse for his tape. “Y’all sit at that table, and y’all forget who I am. It’s like, ‘That’s cool. I been through this before.’ ”

He made Enemy of the State in just 48 hours. “It was super easy. I did it in two days,” he detailed. “Lasers was almost all done. I said, ‘Let me go out here.’ ‘Cause I knew none of that was on Lasers. Just the super ‘I’m the best MC’ — lyrical — there’s wasn’t really room for that on this album. I was like, ‘Let me give my fans that. Let me let them know that I’m still capable of that. Let me show MTV I’m hot too.’ Kept it short. I felt, if you’re nice, you don’t need an hour. You don’t need one hour and 35 minutes. You don’t need 100 freestyles every week. You need a nice demonstration of what you’re capable of doing very effectively, and you step back. Leave you wanting more. Sometimes the best part of the movie is the trailer.”

Lasers comes out later this year.

Joints to Check For

» “Say Something.” “It’s just certain records that should be yours,” Lupe said. “Wayne should have ‘A Milli.’ It should have been his song. It’s certain records that fit an MC and what he does, and the instant you hear him, it starts to go. There’s certain beats that don’t do that. There’s certain beats MCs shouldn’t have. That’s just me stuntin’, sorry. I heard the track. I hadn’t even heard Drake or [Timbaland's] song ‘Say Something.’ I didn’t even know what was going on. I just heard the beat and ‘Say Something,’ the freestyle came out. I could have kept going. I could have rapped over that for 20 minutes.”

» “Turnt Up.” “I went to Atlanta and was asking my homeboy, I said, ‘What’s the hottest record in Atlanta?’ He said Waka Flocka ['O Let's Do It'] and [Travis Porter's] ‘All the Way Turnt Up.’ He played the beat. I said, ‘What?!?’ Same thing too. I hadn’t heard the song, I heard the beat and said, ‘I need to destroy this properly.’ You know when the Chinese circus comes to town and they just wilding, doing mad flips and unnecessary extraordinary things? That’s how I look at it. No holds barred. It ain’t about having no hooks. I ain’t gotta prove no points. It ain’t gotta show no purpose. It’s a demonstration of skill. When I get into that zone, I ain’t really gotta write nothing down. It’s like, ‘Let’s go.’ ”

» “Yoga Flame.” “The Lil Wayne ‘Fireman,’ tracks speak to you. I was just like, ‘I need to speak back to it. This one is calling me.’ I was going to do the ‘Compton City G’s’ beat. I said, ‘Let me not get on something too old.’ [The name] ‘Yoga Flame’ came from the engineer. He went in and got the jawn. That’s just a demonstration of what I’m capable of at 11 p.m. at night. No sleep.”

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