NEW YORK — To make it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, climbers use high-altitude breathing techniques, a whole lot of rope and some seriously insulated parkas. But not [artist id="2017563"]Lupe Fiasco[/artist]. When he climbed the peak, he did it with some lessons learned from none other than Daniel-san.
"I guess it was one of them 'Karate Kid' moments, you know? I did martial arts for, like, 20 years. My father was a Grand Master for, like, 40 years before he passed. It's just one of those lessons that we were taught," he laughed at the New York premiere of "Summit on the Summit: Kilimanjaro." "We used to run in the snow barefoot, jump over cars, hang out of trees and do all types of crazy stuff, and that was just part of the training, to understand that it's you versus yourself. The terrain is always going to exist, it's always going to be there, and it's whether you are capable enough to go through it. ... Just some little mysticism right there, a little bit of that karate magic to keep the mind going."
And Fiasco — who, along with Kenna, Santigold, Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch and a team of scientists, United Nations ambassadors and experienced mountain guides, took on Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about the global clean-water crisis — most certainly made it to the peak, braving freezing temperatures, dizzying heights and crippling altitude sickness. Of course, while all of those things are what made the trip difficult for him, the toughest hurdle to overcome was mental.
"It probably is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It wasn't the altitude sickness; it was more so the battle of myself," he explained. "Battling, getting the variables right, working the math out about how much water you're going to drink, how hard you're going to push yourself, how mad you're going to get, how much you're going to think about going home."
Oh, and there was also the lack of certain, uh, creature comforts too.
"It was very, very wild when it came to the restroom situation," he laughed. "There was lot of rationing going on up there."
And while making it to the highest peak in Africa was certainly an accomplishment, Fiasco said he's most proud of something else both the film and the team managed to accomplish: They made thousands of people aware of the shortage of clean water available to people in the most impoverished nations on earth. And they did it together.
"There's strength in numbers. It's about mass. You can have one person, and he looks cool holding up a sign, but it's much better when you have 500 people holding up the same sign," he said. "There was actually, like, 300 people involved in this climb, and that's what it took to get everyone to the top. And that's what it's going to take to change this global water situation."