Our SparkNotes on Lupe Fiasco’s Epic Twitter Novel
Lupe Fiasco is currently writing a sci-fi crime novel on Twitter, titled Teriyaki Joe: Neo-Harlem Detective. The move could be described as both genius and insane, but is actually pretty expected coming from Lupe; these days, the Chicago MC seemingly prides himself on being an artist who just doesn’t really care what other people think. Instead, he lets his imagination do the talking, even if sometimes that talking turns into an incomprehensible ramble. There’s no denying that Teriyaki Joe is another example of his imagination at work and, like other recent work of his, it can be both beautiful and a little hard to understand. That’s why we decided to write some SparkNotes—you know, what you used to cheat on your book reports with back in high school—on the chapters he’s written thus far. Check ’em:
Chapter One: Grits
The reader is introduced to “Neo-Harlem,” a place where thick creole girls—possibly with fake “kevlar jellyfish” private parts—get seduced by pimps, vintage Rick Ross posters hang on the walls and technology and crime are intertwined. The narrator is also introduced, though we don’t know his name yet. What we do know is that he smokes electronic cigarettes, has a lot of money stashed away and is constantly on the hunt for female tail. We also know that he likes grits, which is how the chapter ends (he goes off to get some grits).
Chapter Two: Coffee
Chapter two introduces the narrator as Joe through a text message he gets on his “Mindphone,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Joe was shot a few years back and is now made up of old machine parts.
In the chapter, Joe goes to a diner on Valentine’s Day, where he orders food with hi-tech glasses, which “update” his plate from being empty to being full of eggs and toast. In reality, Joe is just taking “food pills” to get full, but the glasses give off the illusion of real food. The future. While eating his futuristic food pills, Joe spots one of the thick creole girls that walk the streets. He sees her pop a bunch of “Gin pills,” which we can only assume is alcohol in pill form. She starts to violently shake and vomit everywhere. Joe, who supposedly is a detective, responds by winking at the waitress, walking out and saying, “I hope she makes it out the other side.” Classic Joe.
He then gets a message on his Mindphone that reads “one million units respond for details.” Joe is skeptical whether he’ll really get one million units—the future’s currency— for solving the mystery that the message will entail or whether it’s a trap. Joe being Joe, he thinks about it for a second and then responds.
Chapter Three: Gravy
Joe takes a taxi cab, which Lupe describes as a “port-o-potty with thrusters,” past the acid graffiti and grimy streets of Neo-Harlem to “upstairs”—a slang term to describe what we think is an uncontaminated part of future New York. The cab has to go through the moon and a series of decontamination tests before it lands outside Central Park, which is full of color and sits below “the real Sun.” This could be a possible commentary by Lupe on the divide between the real Harlem and the rest of uptown New York or maybe just on social injustice in general. Things are getting deep.
A man approaches Joe who he refers to as his “devil,” which is a term he uses to describe the people who pay him to solve mysteries. He’s skeptical at first of the man, who has fake eyes and a voice that constantly changes as a way to keep his identity secret. But then the “devil” says to Joe, “That’s right Mr.Teriyaki…I want you to bring my daughter back…”
Back from where!? Will Joe fall in love with the daughter?! Will he ever have sex with a creole prostitute with jellyfish privates!? XXL will be glued to Lupe’s Twitter as the saga of Joe Teriyaki continues to unfold.
Previously: Lupe Fiasco Is Writing A New Novel On Twitter