By Chris Yuscagave
Lupe Fiasco did the impossible recently. He got a release date for Lasers!
Though his oft-delayed third solo album has been in the works for nearly three years now, Atlantic Records reportedly refused to release the project or even deliver a projected release date for the Chicago rapper. However, after thousands of Lupe Fiasco fans signed a petition earlier this year to try and force Atlantic to release the album and even threatened to hold a protest outside the Atlantic offices, the label finally caved and gave Lupe a release date: March 8, 2011.
That said, it might seem like the hard work is done for Lupe. All he has to do is sit back and wait for March 2011 to come around, right? Wrong. In fact, the uphill battle for Lupe Fiasco is just beginning. And there are still plenty of things he needs to do if he wants Atlantic to give him the chance to release any more albums after this one.
To help Lupe out, RapFix came up with 10 things he needs to do in order to make Lasers as successful as possible. Let's get to it, Lupe.
1. Keep recording songs for Lasers
We've heard that you submitted a completed version of Lasers to Atlantic months ago. That's all well and good, but there's a good chance your whole experience with trying to get your album out would make for a good song or two. So don't assume that what you submitted is what's going to hit store shelves. Keep recording and give fans the freshest material you've got when the album finally does drop.
2. Call Kanye West, like, NOW
In case you haven't noticed, 'Ye is about to be busy. Real busy. With his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, dropping next month, he's gonna be on every TV station, radio channel and Web site soon. Before he is, put the bug in his ear that you're looking for a contribution for Lasers. If that doesn't get Atlantic excited about putting your project out, we don't know what will.
3. Drop a mixtape. Immediately.
Last year's Enemy of the State mixtape was dope. Only problem? It was like 20 minutes long. So, um, no offense, Lupe, but 20 minutes isn't enough to hold today's ran fans over for a day—let alone 10 months. Get some new music out and get it out right away.
4. Stop participating in supergroups
Child Rebel Soldier (a group comprised of Lupe, Pharrell and Kanye) and All-City Chess Club (boasting Lupe, B.o.B, Asher Roth and more) both sound like cool projects. But, yo: It's taken you three years to get Atlantic to release your next solo album. Do you really think Atlantic—or any other record label, for that matter—is going to put out an album by either of those two supergroups anytime soon? Yeah, we don't think so. So stay focused on your solo career. At least, for now.
5. Repair your image on the rap blogs
We're not sure if you know this or not, but most of the rap blogs seem to hate you. You don't seem to care, which is cool, but in today's hip-hop culture, you need the blogs to love you (or, at the very least, to blog about you!) in order to be successful. That's just the way it is. If you can't stand a particular blogger, you don't have to cater to him or her. But find a couple you do like and serve them up some fresh material. (P.S. If you want RapFix to do it, just say the word!)
6. Embrace your leaked records
No rapper wants their new songs leaked onto the Internet. It'd be crazy to try and convince you or any other rapper to be happy about it. But if it happens, it happens. Rather than throwing dirt on your own songs or chastising the world when a record leaks, accept it and move on. That's what we call free publicity, sir.
7. Be open to trying everything to land on a hit single
You passed over on B.o.B's "Nothin' On You." Cool, you weren't feeling it. But be open to doing whatever you can to find a hit that'll propel your album into the next stratosphere. That doesn't mean you have to sell yourself out or work with someone you don't want to. But if you're not gonna do that, think outside the box to land on a single that'll make you proud.
8. Take cues from your labelmate B.o.B.
Speaking of B.o.B, look no further than B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray to hear how you can make the album you want to and keep your label happy. B.o.B might have a few songs on there that you wouldn't necessarily record, but it's safe to say he's also got plenty of songs on there that he truly wanted to release to the world. Use that as your blueprint.
9. Appreciate your old fans—but try to find some new ones
You have a diesel fan base. Kids were willing to sign a petition and even take time out of their busy lives to come and protest on your behalf. You need to keep them around. But you also need to branch out and realize that not everyone is happy with the way you've handled your label politics. Do whatever it takes to get them back on your side through your music.
10. Keep rapping your ass off
Good music trumps everything. So whether you drop a mixtape tomorrow or start recording a couple freestyles every week, use your voice to give yourself a voice in the hip-hop community. If you do that, Lasers will shine brightly.
Until then... *clicks play on "I'm Beaming"*
Are you looking forward to Lupe Fiasco's Lasers? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!