Lupe Fiasco at Warehouse Live, 11/7/2013
November 7, 2013
As we walked into Warehouse Live on a chilly November night, all I could see was a titanic beard onstage rapping into a mike. It took a few moments to realize that MMG homie Stalley was finishing up his set. The Ohio native certainly has an interesting voice, higher than you would expect, effortless but still hard.
I've never really given his music too much of a chance, although I've seen him a few times since SXSW 2012. I did appreciate the song "Swangin'" that is found on this year's Honest Cowboy album, in which he shares the track with Scarface. Looks like I owe him a few Spotify spins very soon.
While waiting on Mr. Fiasco to arrive onstage, I reminisced over the times that I've seen him in concert. It goes all the way back to 2009, at my very first Press assignment for HPress. It was a Bun B & Friends show, and a young Lupe came in with a jean jacket, shades, and Chucks, cool as ever.
Back then, "Kick, Push" was inescapable; the perfect song for a fan like my little brother Angel, who accompanied me last night to see his favorite rapper. I've taken him twice before, but tonight we both hoped to finally meet the Chicago native and take a photo with him. Fingers crossed.
The stage was backdropped by a large LCD video screen, ready to display images of the struggle, both life and political, the stuff that Lu is known to care about. Indeed, a more mysterious artist may not exist in hip-hop, presenting his fans with all kinds of tracks, from the simple party jams to the conscience resistance anthems. It all works coming from his superbly gifted flow, as well as from his charismatic and confident demeanor.
A recorded monologue began the show, an attempt to educate the girls and women around the world to push away from the twerking culture, and the men away from the drug culture. That led into the track "ITAL (Roses)", which begins with the verse "Hey shawty, ain't no future in no gang-bang, and no future in no bang-bang."
Obviously a call for respect and peace, especially from the violence that plagues Lupe's hometown of Chicago. "Put Em Up" and "Lamborghini Angels" rounded out the opening act from 2012's Food & Liquor II., ending with the controversial "Around My Way [Freedom Ain't Free]".
"There's two things that make me, me!" proclaimed Lupe as he took a moment to breathe. "The first is: I tell the truth. People may not always like it, but I do. The second thing is: I tell the muthafuckin truth!"
Can't argue with that, Lupe has found himself in more than a few controvesries over the years for his opinions, thoughts, theories, etc. In that way, he is similar to his big rap brother Kanye, although nobody is as crazy as Mr. West. I admire the fact that more kids pay attention to current events after listening to Lupe speak.
Review continues on the next page.