Lupe Fiasco on the Cover of New XXL

After experiencing the biggest selling debut week of his career with the recent release of his third solo album, Lasers, Lupe Fiasco is ready to open up and go into specific details about his struggle to release the record in XXL’s forthcoming May 2011 issue.

Contributing writer Thomas Golianopoulos had the opportunity to sit-down with the outspoken MC to discuss his uphill battle with label home Atlantic Records to put out the long delayed disc—which, at one point, was doomed to never see the light of day.

Lu revealed to XXL that in 2009 Atlantic froze his budget on Lasers because they were unhappy with what they had heard so far of the album. The decision was crippling and Fiasco says caused him to contemplate suicide. “It follows you everywhere,” he said of the depression that overtook him. “The way you rationalize things gets titled through that mentality.” In the song “Beautiful Lasers,” from the disc, Lupe mentioned keeping a gun on his table. “That was literal,” he admits. “I own a ton of them.”

The gifted wordsmith’s devoted fan base eventually came to his aid and was able to help Lupe get another shot after organizing a boycott outside Atlantic’s New York offices last October. Fans also came out to the stores, and picked up over 204,000 copies of Lasers, once the disc finally hit shelves in early March, making it the No. 1 album on the Billboard Top 200 for that week.

But don’t expect that joyous achievement to change his outlook on the record business. Asked how he felt about the Billboard accomplishment, the Windy City native replied, “I wasn’t completely overwhelmed, because now I have to go into the business meetings,” he said. “Now I’m waiting for, ‘If you didn’t say you hated the album in that interview, we would have done 300,000,’” he added.

Fiasco admitted that he made a more poppy sounding album than he would have liked with Lasers and isn’t proud of the artistic compromises he had to make. While he might not feel comfortable making pop music, Lupe is confident with his skills on the mic; even going as far as calling himself one of the best lyrical MCs in the game at the moment. “I can actually make the argument, seriously, that, Yo, I’m better than all y’all,” he boasted. “You have people who can say that. Jay-Z can say that. Eminem can say that. Canibus can say that—if we are going line for line. If you want to relate me to the newer cats, let’s go. Let’s go line for line and bar for bar. If it’s all about spitting and metaphors and MCing and lyrics and entendres, I will eat 99 percent of you dudes up.”

In addition to the cover story on Lupe, XXL’s May issue also includes a comprehensive breakdown of all of the important moments in Wiz Khalifa’s career since he landed a spot on XXL’s 10 Freshmen for ’10 cover, seen through the eyes of the Pittsburgh artist himself. G.O.O.D. Music signee and fellow XXL Freshmen classmate Big Sean also speaks on his fight to release his debut, Finally Famous. Furthermore XXL pays tribute to legendary hip-hop hook master Nate Dogg in the wake of his passing and investigates the death of the rhyme notebook. With the upcoming release of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s highly anticipated Watch the Throne disc, XXL takes a look back on the history of rap collaboration album projects and why they are so hard to pull off.

To read these stories and much more, be sure to cop XXL’s May 2011 issue, hitting newsstands nationwide on April 26. —XXL Staff

  • Yoyo

    bout time!!! this is incredible!!! shout-outs to Lupe!! great job XXL!!!

    • ytuyu

      My friends told me about
      ——- Lo ve Wealt hy* C0- M —- told It’s a h-ot place for u to meet wealthy, hot, successful sin-gles…You do not have to be a millionaire but you will meet one !!!!

    • GTFOH

      Please XXL your WACKKKKKKKKKK so is LASERRRRRSSS

  • koffybrown

    Damn sorry ass record labels. They’re assholes for real,if you don’t agree with their way” what they do” cut you off. When people start talking about commiting suicide that shit is real.On top of all that shit you don’t know what a person is going through in their personal life. Lupe is a HipHop genius and we need this kind of fresh,motivating,creativity in ours ears.Instead of I shot that nigger or I hit that bitch with a bottle.Lupe is a revolutionary,fighter and a positive role model”if looking for one” so with this said….all my LASERS stand the FUCK UP and rep @lupefiasco on twitter.One Love.

    • allhiphop>xxlmag

      shut the hell up

  • kedordu

    WHAT LUPE DID WAS IMMATURE . U HAVE TO DO WHAT THEY SAY AT FIRST AND THEN U EARN THEIR EAR AND RESPECT AND U WILL DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT . WHETHER HE WANTS TO ADMIT IT OR NOT GETTING THAT INITIAL EXPOSURE IS VERY IMPORTANT . TUPAC DID IT WITH ALL EYES ON ME , KRS ONE DID IT . and no doubt many of his fans didnt buy the album cause he said he didnt like it . those are the kind of loyal fans he has .

    • Tj

      you are stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • E

    Refreshing to see a true MC gettin the spotlight on XXL

    ALSO, it’s good to see a NON-plain white background on an issue. (check last 5 issues)

    can’t wait

  • AVENGERXL

    I do not believe that lupe is that upset about doing pop tunes. If he wanted his own control he would’ve taken the weight the labels gave him and done at least a strong mixtape showing his vision ala ghostface and give the label the pop record. Now he has what he wants which was album sales and for what its worth it is more critcally accepted than a lot of crap out now. It is pop that you can listen too without feeling all sugary about like drake.

    He lost some points with me recently due to his pseudo-revolutionary rants

    • nicholasdelorejo

      I see what your saying but I think that if Lupe did that he would be in the same position as Fabolous and 50 cent. Have dope music found only in unknown mixtapes but release sub par music that most would only know of. I’m sure if Lupe had began making music like that of Lasers and released his previous albums in mixtapes then people might have eventually get tired and forget your lasers-like music while your best work Paris, Tokyo”, “I Gotcha” and “Kick Push” will be only familiar to the few that follow his mixtapes. The drive fore his album release protest was because those songs were released to the masses in videos and singles. the press only mentions the songs that label’s support.

      I think your theory holds true for rappers that are successful and have a strong media pressence. When Wayne released “Rebirth”, only one person that I knew bought it yet it went gold but everyone had a copy “No Ceilings”. So I think Lupe should continue to find ways for him to have creative control over his mainstream music so that he can continue to have a strong mass following that are strongly familiar and devoted to his quality music rather than to release sub par music and hope that his mixtape fans will be enough to buy his albums.

  • Shawty J

    Looks like this is gonna be a good issue!

  • http://chrisjones.boondocksparanoia.com WhoChrisJones245

    Ay, not even tryina be a hater, but it seems like every rapper in every interview wants to explain why theyre “the best rapper in the game right now”. That aint takin a shot at xxl since its on the cover or nothin, but shit, just sayin, half these motherfuckers sayin that really aint doin shit. Thats an overused azz muthafuckin term.

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    Looking to open up for some major label artists? Young Money, GS Boyz, Diddy Dirty Money, Young Dro and more. We are looking for talented artists. Tour going on June-August 2011. Check out getsigned.weebly.com so you can get exposure and get signed to a record label.

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  • http://www.justice.gov.za Tshilidzi

    “Now I’m waiting for, ‘If you didn’t say you hated the album in that interview, we would have done 300,000,’

    Hahaha……..right on spot!!

    Big up 2 all those who don’t let (majors) sacrifice their art.

    • Phil

      Hell yea. And a super big up to all those out there that masturbate with their spit instead of lotion. That’s making use of resourses.

  • HU

    Whatever Lupe releases next will determine the level he is willing to sell out. Immortal Technique and Pharoahe Monch would have rather died than record an album like Lasers. However, if Lupe is able to blend real revolutionary thought with the mainstream then that is how we can slowly get rid of Boosie, Guccie, Wacka, Lil B, etc. It puts smart music in the mainstream and moves garbage to the fringes, where smart music now resides.

  • Los Angelez Angelz

    “if we are going line for line. If you want to relate me to the newer cats, let’s go. Let’s go line for line and bar for bar. If it’s all about spitting and metaphors and MCing and lyrics and entendres, I will eat 99 percent of you dudes up.”….

    He Ain’t lying! Dude will eat these miserable folk to shreds…..no doubt. I’m still bumping ‘Superstar” and “Kick-Push”…great music….

  • theTRUTH

    I am a Lupe fan. I bought his other CDs, but I didn’t buy this album because he said he didn’t like it. If you dont support it, why should I???

  • REALLYLUPE?

    This has Satten all over it get her out of there. Dude is praying on the cover really?

  • r2j

    FINALLY!!!

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  • http://xxl.com E.Rhymes

    Props to Lupe Fiasco. I gotta say the direction of the new album is very pop, but Lupe always had an alternative sound, at least an alternative to the gangsta image portrayed in a lot of Hip-Hop records. I really appreciated the concept record in The Cool. Its missing the rawness and hopefully Lupe can find a better situation i.e. label to get the real Lupe out.

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  • Leon

    Lupe is better than 3/4 of the current rap game. Y’all retarded if for even a second you think Lupe isn’t good lyrically. Yeah Drake or Wayne (not taking shots at em) can sell all the records they want, but if what you sell is garbage, then you should not be boasting. Lupe deserves this cover and fuck any of y’all who say otherwise

  • B-Minus

    All u people that r haten on lupe must be trippin he is one if no the best in the rap game right now.

  • 33degrees

    he finally took the oath

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