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Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco ( , ), is an American recording artist, producer and CEO of 1st and 15th Entertainment. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his critically acclaimed debut album, Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. Prominent hip hop mogul Jay-Z describes him as a "breath of fresh air"—in a new hip hop world that is characterized by mainstream pop and glamor, he is a throwback to the lyricism-focused rap of the 1990s; critics have called him a "hip-hop Generation Next vanguard."

Life and career

1982–2005: Early life and career beginnings

Fiasco was born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco on February 16, 1982 in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker. Born of West African descent, he was one of nine children of Shirley, a gourmet chef, and Gregory, an engineer. His father, who was a member of the Black Panther Party, was a prolific African drummer, karate teacher and owner of karate schools and army surplus stores. Fiasco was raised Muslim on the West side of Chicagomarker. At the age of three, Fiasco began taking martial arts classes. By age 10, he earned his first black belt. He attended Thornton Township High Schoolmarker in Harvey, Illinoismarker. He initially "hated" hip hop music for its use of vulgarity. He began rapping when he was in the eighth grade, and upon hearing Nas' 1996 album, It Was Written, began to pursue hip hop.

Growing up, Fiasco was given the nickname "Lu", the last part of his first name, by his mother. "Lupe" is an extension of this nickname, which he borrowed from a friend from high school. "Fiasco," he says, "came from the Firm album. They had the song, 'Firm Fiasco'. I just liked the way it looked on paper."

At age 19, Fiasco was in a group called Da Pak. They signed to Epic Records and released one single before splitting up. Fiasco later signed a solo deal with Arista Records, but was dropped when president and CEO L. A. Reid was fired. During this time, he had guest appearances on singles on Tha' Rayne's "Kiss Me" and "Didn't You Know" and also K Foxx's 2004 "This Life". He also released the song "Coulda Been" on a compilation of MTV's Advance Warning. In 2005, he was featured on Kanye West's single, "Touch the Sky".

2006–2007: Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor

During this time, rapper and mogul Jay-Z heard Fiasco and assisted him in the production of what would become his debut album Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. Soon after, he released his first single "Kick, Push", a song about skateboarding. As his popularity steadily increased, so did anticipation for his upcoming album Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. The album was officially released on September 19, 2006. The album featured production from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, The Neptunes, Prolyfic, and more. Singles from the album were "Kick, Push," "I Gotcha" and "Daydreamin'" featuring Jill Scott. The critically lauded album was later nominated for three Grammy Awards including Best Rap Album. In the same year, he was voted by GQ magazine as the "Breakout Man of the Year."

2007–2008: Lupe Fiasco's The Cool

In 2007, Fiasco announced his second album, Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, a concept album that expands on the story of the track of the same name on his first album. While recording the album, Fiasco's father had died and his business partner, Charles "Chilli" Patton, was convicted of attempting to supply heroin and was sentenced to 44 years in prison. The album was released in December 2007 in United States. The first single and video from the album, "Superstar", featuring Matthew Santos, was released the first week of November 2007. Baseball's Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Gerald Laird and Ryan Braun have used "Superstar" as their at-bat song. The song has also been featured in HBO's Hard Knocks TV show. The songs "Put You on Game" and "Little Weapon" are featured in the movie Street Kings in the latest trailer.

Also in 2007, it was revealed that Fiasco, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams had formed a group known as Child Rebel Soldier. CRS has so far released one single, entitled "US Placers" and featuring a Thom Yorke sample. Since its release and the ensuing Glow in the Dark Tour, the group has not yet been spoken of any further.

In an interview with The Village Voice, Fiasco revealed that he was writing a novel about a window washer aptly titled Reflections of a Window Washer. In 2008, Fiasco and his band 1500 or Nothin joined West's Glow in the Dark Tour, which also features Rihanna and N.E.R.D. The tour stopped in several cities, including his hometown of Chicagomarker. In 2008, MTV named Fiasco the 7th Hottest MC in the Game and announced that he was remixing The Cool with French electro house act Justice. Fiasco's "Superstar" has been included in the video game Lips.

2009–present: Lasers

Fiasco announced at a Chicago concert late in 2008 that his next and most likely final album will be a three disc album and that the first disc "Everywhere" would come out in June 2009. The trio was going to be named LupE.N.D. On January 30, 2009, Lupe Fiasco originally announced that LupE.N.D. will be postponed indefinitely. Instead, he would release three albums; The Great American Rap Album in June 2009, two following albums in December 2009 and June 2010, with LupE.N.D. following afterward. However, it was announced by Fiasco that his next album would instead be titled, "We Are Lasers"; yet later his official rep announced and confirmed that it would instead be titled simply "Lasers". On June 26th, Fiasco announced at the Chicago Theatermarker that the album would be released fourth quarter 2009, most likely in December. The album's first single, "Shining Down," features Matthew Santos and is produced by Soundtrakk. The single was released on July 7, 2009. There were a few snippets of songs that have been released as of August 24, 2009. The songs unofficial titles are "Army Girl," "Ladies And Gentlemen," and "2 Ways."Lupe Fiasco has a bonus track called Solar Midnight on iTunes for the New Moon soundtrack. On October 7th 2009, Lupe released a song in response to the release of MTV's 2009 "Top 10 Hottest Rapper List," on which he was absent. The track, entitled "Fire", is as Lupe stated, a taste of why he will take the number 1 spot on next years list. In October 2009 Lupe released two freestyles. The first titled "Turnt Up" and the second over the Timbaland song "Say Something".

Lupe released the mixtape "Enemy of the State: A Love Story" on November 26th, which features the beats from Diddy's "Angels" and Jay-Z's "Thank You" and "So Ghetto", amongst others. He also announced that another mixtape, "Friend of the People", would be released on December 25th, with "Lasers" following in early 2010.


Fiasco is the co-founder and vice-president of 1st & 15th Entertainment, a record label under Atlantic. Fiasco serves as the current CEO. Singer Matthew Santos, as well as Lupe himself are two of the most visible members. In November 2009, Lupe Fiasco "... got rid of the entire First and Fifteenth Record Label." In an interview with Ruby Hornet, Lupe Fiasco stated, "I got rid of, you’re the first to know, I got rid of the entire First and Fifteenth Record Label. Me and Sarah Green are the only artists on the label, like I got rid of the whole label. It was just such a ‘this isn’t right for you right now. This isn’t gonna work for you right now. You need to be focused on you. Do you really want that, do you really have the capacity to do it?’

In January 2006, Fiasco signed with major footwear and apparel corporation Reebok becoming part of the "O.G" marketing campaign, where rap artists such as Lil Wayne and Mike Jones designed their own personal colorway of the Reebok "O.G" model. Fiasco also runs his own fashion label under the name "Trilly & Truly".


See also


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