Lupe Fiasco Wrote Anti-Cancer Anthem ‘Mission’ For His Grandmother

The Chicago native explains his personal connection to cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of new cases are reported every year. Count Lupe Fiasco among the many people whose lives have been directly affected by the disease.

“My grandmother passed away from cancer,” Lupe explained on “NewsNation With Tamron Hall,” while discussing his new single, “Mission,” which is meant to uplift those affected by the disease and was released in collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer. “It was very sudden; it wasn’t a drawn-out battle or fight.”

The Chicago native added that in recent years, he’s had a number of friends diagnosed, including a professor from Chicago State University, who particularly inspired the song.

“His reaction to it was he was gonna fight it, and fight it in a very bold, aggressive, vigorous kind of manner,” he explained. “And it was the first time I had ever seen a close friend of mine battling with cancer.”

Lu decided to write the song in his friend’s honor, as well as for his grandmother and everyone else who has battled cancer. The track, which also serves as a single for upcoming album Tetsuo & Youth, includes both vocals from cancer survivors giving personal accounts and finds the rapper telling stories from their perspectives in his verses.

Once it was finished, but before it was released, Lupe went around and played it for patients at the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago. With their approval, he knew it was a go.

“I didn’t want it to be something sentimental or something you sit down and be sad about, but something where you can get up and actually go out and feel invigorated about.”

I'm still me.