NEW YORK — For many young people, becoming a superstar MC is a much-treasured dream. However, for about a dozen New York City teens, recording a track heard around the world with the assistance of a much-respected lyricist became a fun reality on Saturday (October 9).
Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco helmed a recording session with a crew of young people during an event thrown by hip-hop-oriented nonprofit World Up as part of NYC's Re:Form School pop-up art exhibition. The "Superstar" rapper guided several amped teens through the process of penning lyrics, crafting a hook and laying down the vocals for a track. Two versions of the song were created simultaneously as a production team based in Brazil Skyped in during the three-hour session. The event was truly an international effort as remixers from far-flung locales such as Istanbul, Berlin and Amsterdam were also involved in the project and reworked audio tracks via a digital shared folder.
Lupe was a hands-on instructor, motivating kids when they slipped up, coaching outsize swagger from the novice spitters and coaxing shy participants into sharing their ideas. The crew wrapped up with a freestyle cipher, banging on desks, dropping bars and belting out heartfelt vocals. Lupe even spit a few lines and indulged the kids' requests for autographs and pictures.
"It was dope. It was real dope today," Lupe told MTV News. "It was a very exhilarating kinda thing to see the youth and the talent that they already have within them and kinda get an opportunity to converse with them and learn some things from them and vice versa."
Although the "Dumb It Down" spitter seemed at home in the classroom and has pondered abandoning the music industry in the past, Lupe insisted he wouldn't make teaching a full-time gig anytime soon.
"Nah, I'm not no teacher. I ain't no teacher," Lupe said, brushing off the suggestion. "I'm good at certain things that I do but, you know, teaching is a very hard job. I don't low-ball it by any means. I definitely don't think ... 'cause you can rapport with somebody that you can be a teacher with no training or no nothing like that. You gotta have the curriculum and make sure that kids [will be] able to comprehend and make sure you even can fully explain actually what you're trying to teach to somebody at the same time too. I don't have any of those qualities or any of those responsibilities so [these] hour, couple-hour sessions showing kids how to rap is all that got."
Would you like to learn how to rap from Lupe Fiasco? What would you ask for pointers on? Let us know in the comments!