Lupe Fiasco took time out of his busy tour schedule to talk about his new album and the rap game, all while skateboarding.
MVRemix: How you doin' my man?
Lupe Fiasco: We skate'n, what's goin on?
MVRemix: Where we at right now?
Lupe Fiasco: We in the back of Goods, in Seattle, Seattle Washington
MVRemix: So you've become known for the skateboarding thing, is that something you intended all the way through?
Lupe Fiasco: Nah, it's not even carried out through the rest of the album. It's just like “Kick, Push” is that one record, one song I dedicated to some skate kids back in Chicago, and that's where the story came from. I used to skate when I was real little, and I gave it up for a minute, and I picked it back up maybe a year and a half ago, two years now, it's just something that I do.
MVRemix: Are you worried that it will be associated with you in the future?
Lupe Fiasco: Nah! It's dope. Skateboarding is fresh.
MVRemix: It definitely differentiates you from other rappers out right now. Just inside that signing you can see your fanbase is very different to a lot of other rappers
Lupe Fiasco: It's diverse; I don't try and like tell one story, and leave it at that. I try and tell stories that are universal, not just stories of people from the hood, but stories about people from the suburbs. You know, wherever, I try to tell stories that have universal messages that have universal appeal and you see that in my fan base through events like this. People from every race, color and creed comin' out.
MVRemix: Is that exciting for you? Having all that diversity in your audience
Lupe Fiasco: Of course! You know, I'm touching a lot of different people and bringing a lot of different people to the table who I would have never met before, like I notice a lot of kids who never listen to hip-hop, but just because it's kick, push and it's pertaining to skateboarding, and now they listenin' to this song, and that song, it's dope. And it's introducing kids in the hood who were stigmatized skateboarding as just something for white kids. To be like, this is cool, this is dope, there are actually black skaters, Mexican skaters, Asian skaters you know everything around the board. It's not just some rich white kids, livin' in the 'burbs type situation.
MVRemix: So tell me about this new project you got comin' out.
Lupe Fiasco: Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor, executive produced by Jay-Z, it's my first solo album, I've been working on it for like 5 years between like three labels. It's been a dope experience, got to work with a lot of different people: Kanye West, Jill Scott, The Neptunes, Jay-Z, my producers pro and soundtrackk, who founded my company 1st and 15. They got a lot of time to shine, so it's just a dope project, mike shinoda from Lincoln Park, just pullin' different people from different genres, different people I'm fans of. So it's been good.
MVRemix: What does the album mean to you, under all that?
Lupe Fiasco: The album Food and Liquor comes from in Chicago, where a lot of the corner stores are called "Food and Liquors". You know, Mike's food and liquor or whoever's food and liquor, and I've only seen that in Chicago, so for me it's something that is specific to just Chicago and so I named it that. And on the other side, the good and bad, I don't drink or smoke, so liquor always had a bad connotation, so it represents the good and the bad, the food, and the liquor.
MVRemix: Why is it that you choose not to drink or smoke?
Lupe Fiasco: My religious background, it's just my preference, I just don't like what alcohol does to people, I don't like what alcohol does to communities, so it's just like whatever.
MVRemix: So where a lot of people know you from, if not this Atlantic [Food and Liquor] project, is your Fahrenheit mix series, tell me a little more about that.
Lupe Fiasco: It's my mixtape series. Fahrenheit 1/15 was the first one, revenge of the nerds was the second one, rhyming ape was the third. I just did them for online release, they just were me doing my thing, and I got a lot of fans off of that with songs like “switch” and “Lupe The Killa” and conflict diamonds and kids with guns and stuff like that. I just got a lot of fans from all over the place since they were online, and I had fan bases all over the world, it was an international thing, so it's been dope. And those were like my practice grounds, and I don't really take them too serious.
MVRemix: On a song “hurts me soul” you talk about rappers degrading women and everything like that, what's your stance on the aspect of hip-hop?
Lupe Fiasco: I just don't try to degrade women, but you have women degrading women so it's not just rappers which is something more deeper socially then in the music. I think that if we as rappers and musicians can make it, and we can take that out of the status quo then that's just one part of it that can be taken away from it for little kids and just women in general so they're a little bit prouder of the music we make. So me, I just don't do it, I just lead by example, hopefully the next rapper out will be like yo lupe didn't do it. When I first started rapping, I did it, because that's what I heard from Ice Cube and Too Short and stuff like that. But if the new generation see that there are rappers who don't do it then what are they gonna talk about.
MVRemix: The one other thing I wanted to touch on was the fact that you're a lot more alternative in your rappers then most of the rappers out right now, especially on Atlantic. Do you think your gonna struggle with that coming in to the mainstream?
Lupe Fiasco: Not at all. They already accepted it, I'm already in the mainstream. Now the fight is just to sell records, and have the same impact that mainstream artists have where they sell millions and millions of records. People wanna hear that, it's not that people aren't sayin it, it's just that it's not packaged right, and I package my message a little different, I approach it from a different stance and a different viewpoint. So you know, It's good.
MVRemix: Do you think you're gonna have a problem selling records on a level of a mainstream artist?
Lupe Fiasco: I don't know… maybe. I'm just gonna see where it goes, and just see where it end up, we're just grindin', getting support from a lot of different people.
MVRemix: Legally and Illegally?
Lupe Fiasco: Yeah, You know haha
MVRemix: Where do you see yourself in three years?
Lupe Fiasco: I don't know, I don't know where I'm gonna be at in next week, ain't no tellin' man.
MVRemix: You're just livin it up?
Lupe Fiasco: Livin' it up until I'm gone
MVRemix: What's the thing you hate most about the rap game?
Lupe Fiasco: The thing you hate most about the rap game? I hate the music business. I love music, I don't hate rap, I love rap. I just hate the music business.