The O.D.: A Mixtape Daily Exclusive
"He thinks he's Martin Luther King, Malcolm X/ Tupac, Bob Marley." Lupe Fiasco just put out a freestyle over Rick Ross' B.M.F. beat (Lu's song is called "Building Minds Faster"), but says another official mixtape isn't coming anytime soon. Just as well, his fans want his album Lasers.
Last week, some of Fiasco's fans launched a website petitioning Atlantic Records to release the LP, which has been completed for at least several months. Lupe maintains that he had nothing to do with the petition, but the fans' support has moved him.
"I love to see progression," he said yesterday via phone. "I love it. I love to see this petition. It brought me to tears a couple of times like, 'these n---as really f--- with me. All these kids and these fans f--- with me and it's some positive sh--. Go to Wearenotlosers.com and see what Lasers really is. ... That's what they're petitioning for. Listen to 'I'm Beamin,' the song. It reaffirms what we're doing."
On Friday, one of Lu's former producers, Prolyfic, took the Chicago MC to task on Twitter. Lupe was portrayed by Prolyfic as stubborn and as someone who's constantly throwing tantrums, among other assertions.
"My old producer Pro, he was signed at the company maybe four or five years ago," Fiasco said. "We used to be cool. But Pro knows why we ain't cool no more. I'm not him, the type to air business or make false accusations just for the sake of getting my name out there. He knows why I don't really f--- with him. He knows why Chill don't f--- with him. He knows why the company don't f--- with him, why half of the city don't really f--- with him."
At the heart of Lupe's album being in limbo are his singles, or lack thereof. He says that Atlantic presented him with choices of singles they wanted him to record and put on his album. One of them turned out to be B.O.B's "Nothing on You." Fiasco, however, turned down using those records because, he says, it wouldn't by fiscally sound. He was told he wouldn't have any ownership of or publishing rights to the records.
"I don't think the label cares about an album," Lupe assessed. "I don't think n---as care. People just want their number-one record. They don't care about the rest of the album. I was talking to an engineer the other day and he said, 'These n---as don't even care about mixing an album no more.' They just want the first three songs. Three singles. They get them, one, two, three, they don't care what's on the rest of the album. I know this for sure. I've seen it. You can't blame them because of the attention span of the game and the attention span of music, how fast things are going. You only got them one, two, three shots. I'm not no fool. I'm looking at it like 'Yeah, you're right.'
"You just want them, one, two, three. Can I get two? Can I get three. I'm talking about equity in the songs. I wrote 'Superstar.' The hook, all that sh--. That whole song is mine. I'm not doing it outta fame. I don't mind having people come in and support. That's how my career started. With all that said, I own some of 'Superstar.' These records, I'm not finnin to own sh-- on those records [Atlantic chose as singles]. N---a, that's not success. That's stupidity. ... I have no problem accepting help, but you ain't finnin to take advantage of me. I got nine brothers and sisters. They gotta eat. ... F--- what n---as gotta say on a message board. F--- what Pro is talking about. I got a whole family, a whole team, a whole crew of n---as I f--- with in the streets that's eating off what Lupe Fiasco is doing. I gotta do what's best. If I'm not getting no publishing check, that means I can't pay for my man's lawyer. So n---a, f--- you."
Six months ago, Lupe said tensions between him and his recording home were "extremely ugly." Now, however, the volatile relationship has simmered down.
"It's not necessarily a standoff. Record executives at the company signed the petition. That's no bullsh--. It's something that's systematic. At the end of the day, everything I'm talking don't mean sh-- until they feel like they gonna move with what they gonna move with. They could put Lupe Fiasco on the shelf forever. At the end of the day, it's not about me going to war or having a standoff. It's about having an agreement that's mutually beneficial, and I think we've done that. It's at the point that everybody is kinda comfortable, but in the midst of everybody getting right, here comes this petition. Then in the midst of this petition, you get this punk n---a Pro coming out the box talking all this crazy sh--. It puts more negativity into the situation. But the people at Atlantic love that. I'm not saying they love the negativity, I'm talking about the petition. For them to see 16,000 people say, 'This is what we want and what we want now. We're sick of all this dumb bullsh--.' They love to see fans that actually care."
Lupe does have a new body of work out right now. He's the frontman for a punk rock group called Japanese Cartoon. Their project In the Jaws of the Lords of Death is available for free download on Allsabotage.com.