Luckily, some flights opened up Wednesday morning, and thousands of college students gathered around the stage on the beach at 1 p.m. to hear the first performance: Lupe Fiasco featuring Matthew Santos. Telling the crowd, “This is what a Grammy sounds like,” Lupe performed five of his tracks, bringing Santos out for most of them. Afterwards, Lupe and I talked onstage about his new album, The Cool, and how much he likes playing with a full band.
Later on, I was able to catch up with him backstage. While he didn’t want to “talk politics,” we did talk about his music. I noticed that, between songs, Lupe talked about how sometimes his label asks him to “dumb it down” and stop using so many big words in his lyrics. If you listen to The Cool, you’ll find that not only do its tracks have a rich vocabulary, but they also cover a wide range of issues. Lupe told me that “the point” is to make an album that has the music to appeal to a mainstream audience, while at the same time “sneaking” powerful messages into the lyrics. We also talked about his book and Kanye West’s “Glow in the Dark” tour, featuring Rihanna, N.E.R.D. and, of course, Lupe himself.
Then I was back onstage interviewing Flo Rida, who’d just gotten the news that “Low” had gone triple platinum. Flo was excited to be performing in his home state for the spring-breakers and told the crowd that he looked forward to having not only hits with “Low” and “Elevator,” but also a #1 album (Mail on Sundays comes out on March 18). Flo has already had longtime success on “TRL,” and his new album features Timbaland, Lil Wayne, Will.I.Am, Yung Joc and Sean Kingston, just to name a few. I told Flo that his album seemed like it was missing female rappers, and he said he’d like to collaborate with Eve and Lil’ Kim in the future.
Movies and music seem to be getting closer every day, so I asked Flo and Lupe if acting was in the cards for either of them. Both said that directors and producers have approached them to appear in films and that they’re seriously considering offers, so you might want to keep an eye out for the MCs’ big-screen debuts in the next couple of years.