Lasers is the third studio album by American rapper Lupe Fiasco, released on 8 March 2011 by Atlantic Records in the United States. Production for the album took place between 2008 and 2010. Lasers features production by The Audibles, The Neptunes, Needlz, Alex da Kid, Syience, and long-time collaborator Soundtrakk, among others. Trey Songz, John Legend, Skylar Grey, Sway, Matt Mahaffey, MDMA, Eric Turner and Sarah Green 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 songs have achieved moderate success peaking within the Billboard Hot 100 with "The Show Goes On" being certified Gold in the United States.
The album has received mixed reviews from most major music critics, having a score of 57 out of 100 at the review aggregator Metacritic. It fared better commercially however debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 with sales over 200,000 copies sold, making the album Fiasco's second top ten album as well as his highest entry on the chart.
Fiasco was originally going to release his triple album, "LupE.N.D." as his third and final record, but his contract with Atlantic Records prevented him from continuing with this agenda. He then postponed "LupE.N.D." indefinitely and intended on releasing an album tentatively titled "The Great American Rap Album" in June 2009.Sharks (February 2, 2009). . TheBoombox. Retrieved on 2011-03-16. Instead, the album was also postponed and he announced a new album was in the works, originally titled "We Are Lasers" and then changed to "Lasers". "Lasers" is a backronym for "Love Always Shines Everytime, Remember 2 Smile". Rap-Up. Refering to the title of the album Fiasco has stated: "I've always had that word in my head, I'm a word guy. And I thought 'lasers' would be a dope name for an album, so when I came up with it I just put it in my 'think-tank' and let it evolve and came up with different meanings for it. That’s why I made it an anagram to give it a new mould, a new understanding, but still playing off the idea that it's bringing light to different circumstances which is what I try and do - bringing understanding and light and awareness to different projects that are going on in the world, and 'L.A.S.E.R.S' is no different.
In 2010, to promote the message of the album, Fiasco released a viral video onto the internet titled "The L.A.S.E.R.S. Manifesto", which can be found on both YouTube and the . The manifesto reads: YouTube. This text has been derived from Lasers (album) on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0
Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco ( ), 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.
Raised in Chicago, Fiasco developed an interest in hip-hop after initially disliking the genre for its use of vulgarity. He adopted the name Lupe Fiasco and began recording songs in his father's basement, and joined a group called Da Pak. The group disbanded shortly after its inception, and Fiasco soon met rapper Jay-Z who helped him sign a record deal with Atlantic Records. In 2006, Fiasco released his debut album Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor on the label, to commercial and critical acclaim. He then released his second album, Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, in December 2007. The single "Superstar" became a hit, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. His latest album, Lasers, was released on March 8, 2011 after several release date delays.
In addition to music, Fiasco has pursued other business ventures, including fashion. He runs two clothing lines, "Righteous Kung-Fu" and "Trilly & Truly"; he has also designed sneakers for Reebok. He has also been involved with charitable activities throughout his career, including the Summit on the Summit expedition, and in 2010 he recorded a benefit single for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Life and career
1982–98: Early life
Fiasco was born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco on February 16, 1982 in Chicago, Illinois. Born of West African descent, he was one of nine children of Shirley, a gourmet chef, and Gregory, an engineer. His father, who was a member of the Black Panther Party, was a prolific African drummer, karate teacher, operating plant engineer, and owner of karate schools and army surplus stores. Fiasco was raised Muslim on the West side of Chicago on Madison Terrace housing project."Biography Today", p.58 At the age of three, Fiasco began taking martial arts classes.
His parents divorced when he was five, and he went on to live with his mother, but his father still remained prevalent in his life. "After school, my father would come and get us and take us out into the world--one day, we're listening to N.W.A, the next day we're listening to Ravi Shankar, the next day, he's teaching us how to shoot an AK-47, the next day, we're at karate class, the next day, we're in Chinatown...". In sixth grade, he went to live with his father in Harvey, Illinois."Biography Today", pp. 59–61 His father lived next door to a crack house and taught Fiasco to use guns to defend himself from drug dealers. Despite his unstable upbringing, Fiasco states that he was well-educated as a child, asserting that "I grew up in the hood around prostitutes, drug dealers, killers, and gangbangers, but I also grew up juxtaposed: On the doorknob outside of our apartment, there was blood from some guy who got shot; but inside, there was National Geographic magazines and encyclopedias and a little library bookshelf situation. And we didn't have cable, so we didn't have the luxury of having our brains washed by MTV. We watched public television — cooking shows and stuff like that."
He initially disliked hip hop music for its use of vulgarity, and preferred to listen to jazz; Fiasco idolized clarinet player Benny Goodman. He began rapping when he was in the eighth grade, and upon hearing Nas' 1996 album, It Was Written, began to pursue hip hop. Early in his career, he went by stage names Little Lu and Lu tha Underdog."Biography Today", p.61 Growing up, Fiasco was given the nickname "Lu", the last part of his first name, by his mother. "Lupe" is an extension of this nickname, which he borrowed from a friend from high school. "Fiasco," he says, "came from the Firm album. They had the song, 'Firm Fiasco'. I just liked the way it looked on paper." He also said of his name, "I simply like the way the word looked (Fiasco). You know how rappers always have names like MC Terrorist--like they're 'terrorizing' other rappers? I knew fiasco meant a great disaster or something like that, but I didn't realize that the person named Fiasco would be the disaster, and that you should be calling other MCs fiascos--not yourself. I was moving real fast at the time, and it kind of humbled me in a sense. It taught me like, 'Yo, stop rushing, or you're going to have some fiascos.' So I just kept it. It's like a scar, I guess, a reminder to not over think or overrun anything ever again."
While at Thornton Township High School, he discovered a love for theatre, and he ran the lights and sound for most of his high school's productions. He also was a member of the chess team and the Knowledge Bowl Decathlon Team.
1999–2005: Career beginnings
Lupe Fiasco 2006.jpgthumbuprightleftFiasco at the 2006 Intonation Music Festival in Illinois
When he was 17, even though his parents were not keen on having their son be a rapper, his father did allow him to use his basement for a studio. Fiasco scoured flea markets and secondhand stores, where he was able to find an old mixing board and a record player, along with stacks of vinyl records, and mic stands.
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. 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.""Biography Today", pp.61–62 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."Biography Today", p.62
Fiasco later 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, 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. 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."Biography Today", pp.62–63
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. 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."Biography Today", p.63 The single, and its accompanying music video, helped Fiasco get attention in the hip-hop community. 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.MP3.com, 2006-09-26. . MP3.com
2006–08: Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor and The Cool
Jay-Z assisted him in the production of what would become his debut album Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. The title is, as Fiasco says, "The title reflects on me being Muslim and being from the streets. In Chicago, instead of having bodegas like in New York, the majority of the corner stores are called 'Food and Liquors.' The store is where everything is at, whether it be the wino hanging by the store, or us kids going back and forth to the store to buy something. The 'Food' is the good part and the Liquors is the bad part. I try to balance out both parts of me...Food to me represents growth and progression. You eat food and you get strength. You need it to live. Liquor is not a necessity; it is a want. It destroys you. It breaks you down. I can see why it's prohibited in Islam...I've always felt like liquor represents the bad, the food represents the good, and everyone is made up of a little of both.""Biography Today", p.64 His single "Kick, Push" became very popular, and was featured in the videogame NBA Live 2007. As his popularity steadily increased, so did anticipation for his upcoming album Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. The album was officially released on September 19, 2006. The album featured production from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, The Neptunes, Prolyfic, and more. Singles from the album were "Kick, Push," "I Gotcha" and "Daydreamin'"Cowie.F, Del., Exclaim!, February 2008. featuring Jill Scott. 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 it made it to No. 8 on Billboard 200 and No.2 on Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart."Biography Today", p.65
In 2007, Fiasco announced his second album, Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, a concept album that expands on the story of the track of the same name on his first album. While recording the album, Fiasco's father died of type II diabetes and his business partner, Charles "Chilly" Patton, was convicted of attempting to supply heroin and was sentenced to 44 years in prison. These events greatly affected Fiasco and the subsequent themes discussed on the album. The album was released in December 2007 in United States. The first single and video from the album, "Superstar", featuring Matthew Santos, was released the first week of November 2007. Baseball's Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Gerald Laird and Ryan Braun have used "Superstar" as their at-bat song.OnMilwaukee.com Staff Writers (July 31, 2008). On Milwaukee. Retrieved September 29, 2008. The song has also been featured in HBO's Hard Knocks TV show. The album's second single (released in the UK in April 2008) was "Paris, Tokyo" - a song based around Fiasco's experiences of touring the world between his first and second albums.
Also 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. In October 2010, as part of Kanye West's G.O.O.D Friday's, a second song titled "Don't Stop" was released. In an interview with MTV, posted on his blog, Lupe said that a full length CRS album would depend on fan demand. The three appeared on the Glow in the Dark Tour together, though under separate billing.
In an interview with The Village Voice, Fiasco revealed that he was writing a novel about a window washer aptly titled Reflections of a Window Washer. In 2008, Fiasco and his band 1500 or Nothin joined West's Glow in the Dark Tour, which also features Rihanna and N.E.R.D. The tour stopped in several cities, including his hometown of Chicago. In 2008, MTV named Fiasco the 7th Hottest MC in the Game and announced that he was remixing The Cool with French electro house act Justice. Fiasco's "Superstar" has been included in the video game Lips.Tom Magrino (October 22, 2008). GameSpot. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
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. 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. 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". On June 26, Fiasco announced at the Chicago Theater that the album would be released fourth quarter 2009, most likely in December. The album's first single, "Shining Down," features Matthew Santos and is produced by Soundtrakk. The single was released on July 7, 2009.
Lupe Fiasco - Melbourne1.jpgthumbuprightFiasco performing in Melbourne, Australia, 2009
Lupe Fiasco has a bonus track on iTunes for the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: New Moon called "Solar Midnight" which he produced himself. In a post on his Myspace blog, Fiasco addressed concerns by fans who believed that he had "sold out" by making a song for the soundtrack, saying "I'm not SELLING OUT by doing a song for NEW MOON...People thought I 'SOLD OUT' when I did 'Kick, Push'". On October 7, 2009, Lupe released a song in response to the release of MTV's 2009 "Top 10 Hottest MC's List," on which he was absent. Lupe stated that the track, entitled "Fire", would prove that he belonged in the number 1 spot on the following year's list.
In October 2009, Fiasco released two new freestyles, "Turnt Up" and "Say Something". Both freestyles were included on his official mixtape Enemy of the State: A Love Story, released on November 26, 2009. The mixtape also included beats from Diddy's "Angels", Lil Wayne's "Fireman," Slaughterhouse's The One, and Radiohead's "The National Anthem." Lupe Fiasco has also contributed vocals to Chris Brown's song "Girlfriend" on his 2009 album Graffiti and has provided a guest verse on the song "Past My Shades" from Atlanta rapper B.o.B's 2010 album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray.This text has been derived from Lupe Fiasco on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0