Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982, age 29), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco (pronounced: ˈluːpeɪ, "LOO-pay"), is an American rapper, 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. He also performs as the frontman of post punk band Japanese Cartoon under his real name.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Fiasco was born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco on February 16, 1982[2] in Chicago, Illinois.[3] Born of West African descent,[4] he was one of nine children of Shirley Jaco, a gourmet chef, and Gregory Jaco, an engineer.[5] His father, who was a member of the Black Panther Party,[6] was a prolific African drummer, karate teacher, operating plant engineer,[7] and owner of karate schools and army surplus stores.[8] Fiasco was raised Muslim on the West side of Chicago on Madison Terrace housing project.[9][10][11] At the age of three, Fiasco began taking martial arts classes.[12]

Music careerEdit

At age 19, Fiasco was in a group called Da Pak, which was influenced by other California gangsta rappers like Spice 1 and Ice Cube. They signed to Epic Records and released one single before splitting up.[13] Fiasco later described the experience, saying "We had a song out about cocaine, guns, and women, and I would go to a record store and look at it and think, 'What are you doing?' I felt like a hypocrite. I was acting like this rapper who would never be judged, and I had to destroy that guy. Because what Lupe Fiasco says on this microphone is going to come back to Wasalu Jaco. When the music cuts off, you have to go home and live with what you say."[14] After turning away from gangsta rap, he developed a greater appreciation of the lyricism of Jay-Z and Nas. His mother also gave him a record of The Watts Prophets, one of the first bands to use spoken words with music and would become the basis of rap.[15]

Fiasco later signed a solo deal with Arista Records, but was dropped when president and CEO L. A. Reid was fired.[13] During his short tenure at Arista, he did meet Jay-Z, who was the president of Def Jam Recordings at the time. Jay-Z referred to him as a "breath of fresh air", saying that he reminded him of a younger version of himself. Jay-Z would go on and help him get a record deal at Atlantic Records.[15] While he was working on the music for his new album, he released his critically acclaimed mixtape series Fahrenheit 1/15 over the internet. The mixtape gained notoriety by word-of-mouth, and Fiasco's remix of Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" entitled "Muhammad Walks", became very popular in the Muslim community.[16]

He remixed another one of West's songs, "Diamonds from Sierra Leone", and renamed it as "Conflict Diamonds". This caught West's attention, and he asked Fiasco to perform on his song "Touch the Sky" off his album Late Registration. The song, which sampled Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up", became a hit in the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #42.[17] After this success his first single "Kick, Push" was released earlier than expected. The song was a love story about two lovers sharing a passion for skateboarding. It would go on to be nominated for two 2007 Grammy Awards.[18] The single, and its accompanying music video, helped Fiasco get attention in the hip-hop community.[19] 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.[20]

2009–present: LasersEdit

Fiasco announced at a Chicago concert late in 2008 that his next and most likely final album will be a three disc album called LupE.N.D. and that the first disc "Everywhere" would come out in June 2009.[21] 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.[22] 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".[23] On June 26, Fiasco announced at the Chicago Theater that the album would be released fourth quarter 2009, most likely in December.[24] The album's first single, "Shining Down," features Matthew Santos and is produced by Soundtrakk. The single was released on July 7, 2009.[25] On January 26, 2010, a new song called "I'm Beamin" was released. "I'm Beamin" will be on the upcoming Lasers; Fiasco referred to the song as a 'taste' of what is coming.[26] There are a few snippets of songs that have been released as of August 24, 2009, unofficially titled "Army Girl," "Ladies And Gentlemen," and "2 Ways."[25]

Grammy NominationsEdit

2012 Grammy NominationsEdit


References and notesEdit

  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Wikipedia Files interview of Lupe Fiasco
  3. Template:Cite web
  4. Template:Cite news
  5. Template:Cite web
  6. Template:Cite news
  7. Template:Cite book
  8. Template:Cite web
  9. "Biography Today", p.58
  10. Template:Cite news
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. Template:Cite web
  13. 13.0 13.1 Template:Cite web
  14. "Biography Today", pp.61–62
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Biography Today", p.62
  16. "Biography Today", pp.62–63
  17. Touch the Sky - Lupe Fiasco at
  18. "Biography Today", p.63
  19. Template:Cite web
  20., 2006-09-26. Lupe Fiasco.
  21. Template:Cite web
  22. Template:Cite web
  23. Template:Cite news
  24. Template:Cite web
  25. 25.0 25.1 Shining Down [feat. Matthew Santos] (Explicit Album Version). Amazon.
  26. Template:Cite web
  27. Interview: Lupe Fiasco Talks "Lasers" Delay, Japanese Cartoon, and "Food & Liquor II" |
  28. Lupe Fiasco Told By Label "Don't Rap Too Deep" | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX

External linksEdit