The Chicago born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco first tasted success when he featured on Kanye West’s hit “Touch the Sky”, a track that shortly preceded his real breakout, his 2006 debut album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, and he never looked back. He has established himself as one of the greatest urban wordsmiths of all time, with Genius even dubbing him the ‘Proust of Rap’.
While he’s now regarded of one of the 21st Century’s Hip-Hop greats, he wasn’t always a fan of the genre, initially disliking it due to the prominence of vulgarity and misogyny within it. In his late teens, he aspired to make it as a lyricist. In his early twenty’s, he met Jay-Z, who helped him sign with Atlantic Records in 2005. The following year, he released his debut album (Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor), which was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, as did his sophomore effort, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool.
The following eight years of his career saw far less output than many would’ve anticipated. This can be partly attributed to his struggles with Atlantic Records. The executives wanted him to sign a 360 deal; however, as he refused to do so they instead shelved his already completed 3rd album, Lasers, and wouldn’t promote him as they had previously. The overseers at the label also interfered with his music (as they had tried to do with his fan-favorite track “Dumb it Down”); subsequently effecting the quality and sound of his third and fourth albums.
However, when it came to his fifth album, Tetsuo & Youth, he made no compromises, despite them again refusing to release his album, wanting to record a radio-friendly single for marketability. He released a promotional single preceding the album, but he stuck to his guns and made the album he wanted to make — and we at Genius are so glad he did.
After leaving Atlantic, Lupe released his first full-length solo album, DROGAS WAVE, in late 2018. Although not meeting immediate success on the market due to a lack of marketing, the project was immediately met with love by both hardcore Lupe fans and objective lovers of lyricism and storytelling; seeing it as a return to form for Lupe after what many fans saw as a letdown in 2017’s DROGAS Light.