INTERVIEW: Lupe Fiasco
Fans may have suffered mightily during his four year absence, but by all accounts, Lupe Fiasco’s new album ‘L.A.S.E.R.S’ has definitely been worth the wait.
Described as “reaching new heights of lyrical and musical mastery”, Lupe has once again proven he’s more than worthy of the hype awarded through his first and second album, and if his new batch of revolutionary genre-bending tracks are anything to go by, he’s once again set to take the charts by storm and see his ever growing army of devotees swell.
Sitting down with MTV for a chat after his critically lauded BDO appearance, and ahead of his ‘L.A.S.E.R.S’ album release, Lupe talks breaking boundaries, collaborating with Thom Yorke and why he loves Aussie audiences so much.
MTV: Hi Lupe, welcome back to Australia! You've said in previous interviews that you really enjoy playing to Australian audiences. Why is that?
Lupe: With Australian audiences, there’s a certain level of education - as far as how much access and exposure they have to music from various genres. So when you do Big Day Out and there are all these different musical acts, you see the same people in your crowd that were there for a completely different artist. And you of course get the ‘festival overflow’ but you still get people who are interested in your show and giving your music a chance, where I've been to some shows in different countries where once the artist they’ve come to see breaks off stage, they're gone.
So there's a different level of appreciation. Where I could do that same thing in some town in the US, and it would be dead, until that song comes on that they've heard on the radio. With these audiences that I’ve been in front of, I could just do whole new songs, and as long as it strikes a chord with them musically they'll give it a chance.
MTV: Do you often play to an audience or adjust your set?
Lupe: We used to do that, but not so much anymore. I think it's because we kind of mastered it. Once you've been on tour six, seven years, you get an idea of what works and what doesn't work universally. There will be some crowds that we just can't play a song, but we've got 90% of a show that we know is going to be a hit with the Lupe Fiasco fan. I think the catering has already been done.
MTV:Tell us about your new album 'L.A.S.E.R.S'?
Lupe: It’s my third album - my last album was 07, so there’s a nice span of time between albums. It’s revolutionary and it’s controversial, as far as the subject matter that I’m touching on which is socially and politically engaging. It runs the gamut musically but in the same way as my past albums, blending genres and stuff like that. It still has that point and purpose at the end of the day to push a positive message to put a positive balance into the hip hop scene - the music scene at large but more specifically the hip hop scene.
MTV: Why is the name 'L.A.S.E.R.S' so significant to you?
Lupe: It stands for Love Always Shines Everytime Remember To Smile. I've always had that word in my head, I'm a word guy. And I thought 'lasers' would be a dope name for an album, so when I came up with it I just put it in my “think-tank” and let it evolve and came up with different meanings for it. That’s why I made it an anagram to give it a new mould, a new understanding, but still playing off the idea that it's bringing light to different circumstances which is what I try and do - bringing understanding and light and awareness to different projects that are going on in the world, and 'L.A.S.E.R.S' is no different.
MTV:You have worked with some big names in the past, are there any more you would like to get in the studio?
Lupe: I definitely want to work with Thom Yorke. I want to work with Damien Marley, there’s a few international artists I wouldn't mind working with - like Massacre Children would be ill, and I still have an affinity for the UK hip hop scene. I work with Sway again on this record, I’d like to work with Tinie Tempah and some of the new cats coming up.
MTV: What about Aussie artists?
Lupe: The Hilltop Hoods… I remember getting one of their CDs a couple of Big Day Outs ago, but recently, it's been the John Butler Trio. Yeah, they're pretty awesome. Because we're on tour with them, it just kind of blew us away. I got a chance to meet one of the guys after one of their shows and it was like, hey you guys are dope as hell! So we'll see...
MTV: Lastly, what's the measure of success for you?
Lupe: Being happy. And that should be the measure of success for everyone. It's not money, it's not fame, it's not celebrity, my index of success is happiness.
‘L.A.S.E.R.S’ is out today (March 4) through Warner Music. For more info on Lupe, get to www.lupefiasco.com
See for yourself why we can't get enough of Lupe in the video below...