In 1982, a young man named Wasalu Muhammad Jaco was born in Chicago. Despite being one of nine children growing up in the projects of Westside Chicago, Jaco was well-educated and interested in hip-hop despite its heavy use of profanity and vulgarity. After adopting the stage name Lupe Fiasco, he went on to become a rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, CEO, and post-punk band frontman.
At age 17, Fiasco scoured flea markets and secondhand stores until he was able to find an old mixing board and a record player. He then began recorded in his father’s basement and, two years later, joined the group “Da Pak.” They eventually signed to Epic Records and released one single before splitting up. Later, Fiasco signed a solo deal with Arista Records but was dropped when President and CEO L.A. Reid was fired. During his short tenure at Arista, Fiasco met Jay-Z, who helped him get a record deal at Atlantic Records.
In 2006, Jay-Z assisted him in the production of his debut album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. His single “Kick, Push” became the album’s greatest hit and was featured in the video game NBA Live 2007. The critically lauded album was later nominated for three Grammy Awards including Best Rap Album. Fiasco won “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” for “Daydreamin’.” In the same year, he was voted by GQ Magazine as the “Breakout Man of the Year.” He also received four BET Hip Hop Award nominations, and made it to #8 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.
Fiasco announced his second album, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, in 2007. It is a concept album that expands on the story of the track of the same name on his first album. The album was released in December 2007 in the United States while the first single and video from the album, “Superstar” featuring Matthew Santos was released the first week of November. Baseball’s Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowski, Ryan Zimmerman, Gerald Laird, and Ryan Braun have used “Superstar” at their at-bat song. In 2007, it was revealed that Fiasco, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams had formed a group known as Child Rebel Soldier. CRS initially released one single, entitled “US Placers” and featuring a Thom Yorke sample. Fiasco said that a full-length CRS album would depend on fan demand.
After four years of recording changes and delays, Fiasco released a third studio album in March 2011. Entitled Lasers, it featured production by The Audibles, The Neptunes, Needlz, and Alex da Kid among several others. Trey Songz, John Legend, Skylar Grey and Sway contribute vocals to the album. Lasers was preceded by the lead single “The Show Goes On” and its follow-up “Words I Never Said” featuring Skylar Grey. The former became Fiasco’s highest charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified double Platinum in the United States.
Outside of the hip-hop world, Fiasco preforms under his birth name in the post-punk band Japanese Cartoon. The band consists of Fiasco on vocals, Graham Burris on bass and Matt Nelson on keyboard. They released their first and only album to date, In the Jaws of the Lords of Death, in July 2010 as a free online download from their website. When he isn’t recording or performing, Fiasco is the CEO of 1st and 15th Entertainment, a vanity record label.
Fiasco will be performing live at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in Columbus on Wednesday, September 28th with opening acts Chiddy Bang and Sarah Green. Tickets can be purchased now for $35 or at the door of the show for $40. The show will be held indoors and admission begins at 6 pm.