Interview: Lupe Fiasco Hates His Own Album

Interview: Lupe Fiasco Hates His Own Album

”The [fans] came and put their lives on the line in some instances—because you never know what could happen, it could have been a stampede. I look at that as very inspiring and motivational. That was one of the only reasons the label got on the phone and wanted to have that meeting, they seen the outpouring of support and the critique that was beginning to mobilize via the Internet. CNN, MTV, and Village Voice was picking up the story of the protest and actually interviewing the kids and the kids was speaking their piece. And it wasn’t the most glorifying things that they were saying. I think that, as well as the pressure of the business itself, where it was at a point like, ‘Look, Lupe is not going to come into the building at all.’ It was periods of stalemate where I wasn’t going into Atlantic Records. I had nothing against the average employees—a lot of those people are my friends—but the executive attitude was something I did not like.

“We were literally going on tour and a lot of the records that are on the album [are songs] that the record company was saying, ‘Hey we don’t like this record, it’s not up to par,’ and we already been performing them for two years. And you got kids who know all the words to a lot of the records that are going to come out because our thing was, ‘Alright, if you’re not going to put it out, we’ll perform it and go on tour.’ For me, there’s always another outlet that can be more meaningful than having a release date. Especially, if an album is coming out and you’re not making no money off of it then what’s the point? How excited can you possibly be? My excitement comes from being on the stage.

The best thing for both parties is for this album to come out. Whether that means everything is cool now, that’s a different story.

“For me, it’s the fans and for them to get a victory and for us to get a release date. That’s all we really wanted the whole time like, ‘Either give us a release date or let us go.’ And they were like, ‘No, we’re not giving you either one of those.’ So it was like, ‘Well, I guess I’ll just go back on tour, go climb a mountain, and busy myself with other things until this stuff gets situated.’ [The value of getting a release date] it depends on what level of education you have in the music business. For some people that’s amazing like, ‘Oh my God! My life is going to change and blah, blah, blah.’ For other people, it kind of means nothing. It’s like, ‘Another album out but the main root of the problem is still unsolved.’ And then there are records you literally had nothing to do with. That was a part of the compromise. Compromise doesn’t mean everybody is going to be happy, it’s just we’re going to do the best thing we can. The best thing for both parties is for this album to come out. Whether that means we’re homies or whether that means everything is cool now, that’s a different story.

On “Words I Never Said”

 

“Alex Da Kid was trying to work with me for a couple years, as far back as The Cool. He was submitting tracks and different things. And that was the one record that really caught my attention. The hook was already on it with Skylar. The first day I heard it, I went into the studio and recorded it. The song had a bridge we took out because initially, the song was supposed to be about a relationship, like a boyfriend/girlfriend, Drake song or something. And I’m like, ‘Nah, I’m going to talk about world affairs.’ I’ve been talking about [terrorism] since back on Food and Liquor. It’s weird to me that people forget that I had songs called ‘American Terrorist.’ And I’ve been kind of toeing that line whether it be on freestyles or what have you. I’ve always been talking about the same thing, so when people ask me what’s different with this album, I just say the music. The messages on the album, whether they’re little more or less lyrical than their predecessors, I’m basically saying the same things I’ve said on other mixtapes and albums. [The song] is not a big step for me. It’s not me striving to do anything different.

 

Tags: lupe-fiasco, atlantic-records, julie-greenwald,
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