Chicago-bred rapper Lupe Fiasco had both fans and education-reformers in a tizzy last week over his unorthodox speech to Chicago public school graduates.
He called their education one of the worst on Earth. As his stage surname suggests, Fiasco is no stranger to controversy.
Born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, the “Kick, Push” artist has made some divisive comments in his day. Whether discussing war, religion, or the rap-game, Lupe doesn’t hold back. His criticisms of President Obama and the overall political system in the U.S. have especially raised some eyebrows.
On “Lasers,” Lupe’s third studio album, he spits some heavy lyrics. The album’s title looks like “Losers” with an anarchist symbol. Arguably one of the rapper’s most controversial tracks, “Words I Never Said” lays down his feelings about 9/11 and the Middle-East in no uncertain terms.
“I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bulls—/
Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets.”
“Limbaugh is a racist. Glenn Beck is a racist/
Gaza strip was getting bombed Obama didn’t say s—.”
During StartUp RockOn’s inauguration performance in January, Lupe played this outspoken track on repeat, refusing to deviate. Security eventually escorted him offstage.
Considering the event celebrated Obama’s election to a second-term, he caught some flack for his behaviour. But Lupe’s anti-Obama attitude didn’t appear out of nowhere. He’s openly criticised government policies as early as 2011.
In an interview with CBS, Lupe called Obama “the biggest terrorist.” He went on to say, “The root cause of terrorism is the stuff that the U.S. government allows to happen … and it’s easy for us because it’s just some oil.”
When he tried to defend his comments on Bill O’Reilly, a screaming match ensued. The sentiments echo “American Terrorist” from his 2006 release “Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor.”
We came through the storm, nooses on our necks/
and a smallpox blanket to keep us warm/
On a 747 on the Pentagon Lawn/
Wake up the alarm clock is connected to a bomb.
So disgusted with American political culture, Lupe even admits he doesn’t vote — never has, never will. Again in 2011, this time on English DJ Tim Westwood’s BBC radio show, Lupe said he didn’t vote for Obama or any other president for that matter. “You vote for bombs lodged in the sides of schools that say ‘Made in U.S.A.’ he said. “American tax dollars paid for that.”
Raised a black Muslim, Lupe’s career also includes some defining moments regarding race and religion. In a 2011 Guardian article, Lupe calls religion “irrational.” “It’s built on nonsense,” he said.
In 2010, Lupe covered Kanye’s “Jesus Walks” with a Islam-twist, converting the tracks to “Muhammad Walks.”
In the Quran they call him Isa/
Don’t think Osama and Saddam is our leader/
We pray for peace, but the drama intrigues us.
Lupe doesn’t discriminate though, rapping in “Words I Never Said” that the Palestinians pushed the Israelis too far. He doesn’t forget Christianity either, commenting on priests’ pedophilia in “Lamborghini Angels,” a single from part one of “Food & Liquor II.”
Most recently, Lupe decided to leave the rap-game entirely because of the antagonistic responses to a new single off “Food & Liquor II: Part 1.”
The track, “B—- Bad,” criticises hip-hop’s use of the word “b—-” to describe desirable females, reasoning it confuses young girls and boys. Odd Future rapper Chief Keef then started a Twitter squabble, eventually claiming he was hacked.
According to the Huffington Post, Lupe told Baltimore’s 92Q, “The murder rate in Chicago is skyrocketing and you see who’s doing it and perpetrating it, they all look like Chief Keef.”
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