The career of Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco is rapidly becoming something like his namesake. After an auspicious debut in 2006 with "Food & Liquor," followed by "The Cool" in 2007, Fiasco fans have waited and waited for the third record. First, it was going to be called "LupE.N.D.," a sprawling three-CD affair. Then we heard, nope, just one album titled "The Great American Rap Album." By the end of 2009, it was to be called "Lasers," and according to Fiasco, it's in the can.
But Atlantic Records is sitting on it. Fiasco has begun speaking publicly against his record label, complaining about the stalemate and offering the usual kafkaesque explanations of the music-industry machinations that frequently stymie an artist ...
In this video, posted this week -- terrible quality, but I promise that's Lupe speaking at that distant podium -- Fiasco is speaking at the Second Regional Academic and Cultural Collaborative in Dayton, Ohio, explaining the "360 deal" now common in the industry, and why he refused to go along with it.
"I was told, 'Because you didn't sign this 360 deal, we may or may not push your record,'" he says. "The reason that there is a video for 'Beaming' is because I shot it, with my own money. The only reason that it's on MTV is because I have friends at MTV that said 'Lupe we're going to play your video.'"
Fans have taken the matter in hand, scheduling protests next Friday, Oct. 15, dubbing it Fiasco Friday -- this after more than 30,000 signatures have been collected on a petition to be presented to Atlantic demanding the album's release. The protest in New York City will feature Fiasco himself outside the Atlantic offices.
Hometown fans can rally, too: At the same time the NYC rally is taking place, Chicago fans are planning to gather at Buckingham Fountain and march through the Loop and along Michigan Avenue, "wearing Fiasco attire, carrying picket signs, chanting, and spreading the message with any who will listen," according to local organizer Dan Winchester. More info on the Chicago march can be found here.
Atlantic reps have not returned calls or emails for comment.