Lil B Debuts ‘I’m Gay’ Album, Lupe Fiasco Calls it ‘Liberation Rock’

Earlier this month, we were still debating whether or not Lil B’s I’m Gay album title was purely a publicity stunt, but that’s all irrelevant now. Last night, the Cali rapper accomplished something that seemed near impossible in 2011: He released the album on iTunes with one single tweet, before any of the new tracks could leak. Applaud him—at least a little.

And now, to make things even more interesting, Lupe Fiasco has become his most vocal supporter. First, Lupe fired off a series of tweets supporting the new album:

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After that he took to his blog to pen a detailed explanation as to why he considers Lil B’s mew muisc to be “Liberation Rock”:

His disclaimer:

Before we get any deeper let me put my inherent biases on the table. First, I blindly and unconsciously love anything that comes out of the Bay Area of Northern California. It’s part honest respect for the cultural products that emerge out of that region and part happiness and empathy that in the midst of the social turmoil and raw violence and despair that has plagued that area for decades that artists reppin’ the Bay are capable to create and express themselves at all. Second, my faith is in the youth. So I find myself constantly observing and trying to empower and support the youth in any way that I can. No matter what they create.

The lowdown on Lil B:

What gets Lil B admission into my coveted genre of “Liberation Rock” is his absolute lack of fear when it comes to challenging the status quo. Whether it be in hip-hop, which is very elitist and caste and class oriented, or just society in general, which is very elitist and class centric. His albeit “rocky” road musically has been honestly at times unbearable to walk on. Some of Lil B’s past works have been underwhelming to say the least and at moments I would seriously consider heading out for smoother pavement. But every now and again an absolute jewel would come to the surface and I’d find myself unable to fathom leaving this kids side for any reason. The vulgar lyrics, happy go lucky cooking dances and sometimes pointless stream of conscious style rambling started to give way to hints of a deadly serious revolutionary mentality lurking underneath.

Lupe Fiasco & Bill O’Reilly Square Off Over ‘Terrorist’ Comment

Lupe Fiasco rankled a few patriots when he called President Obama “the biggest terrorist” in America during a recent CBS interview. One of those people was Bill O’Reilly, who invited him to The O’Reilly Factor for a good old-fashioned debate. It’s strange to watch the conservative Fox News host defend Obama, but his introduction—“Now, we’re used to irresponsible statements from rappers, but that’s really over the top”—was a pretty typical jab.

O’Reilly defended Obama’s military initiatives as a means of protecting the U.S. and accused Lupe of influencing the kids with an “oversimplified” message. “Your constituents are not exactly political science PHDs, they’re impressionable kids,” he said.

Lupe made no effort to retract his statement, noting that his terrorist comment applies to every former U.S. president, and not just Obama. The War in Afghanistan became a focal point of the debate, with Lupe insisting that the government’s foreign policies are the “root causes of terrorism.” Things peaked when O’Reilly slammed the rapper’s claims as fallacious.

It all ended on a friendly enough note with Lupe offering to license The Fiasco Factor, but the rapper later tweeted that some footage had been edited from the segment, writing, “Did they edit out the part about the US military manuals that teach you how to be a terrorist?” “Oh really…come on billy…well read em for your self America. I’m not against the military my father was Special Forces Green Beret ‘De Opresso Libre’ taught me everything I know. I’m against injustice.”

Watch Below.

Lupe Fiasco Says Obama Is the ‘Biggest Terrorist’ in America

When Lupe Fiasco dropped “Words I Never Said,” the first single from his Lasers album, the Chi-Town rapper went straight into politics, with “Gaza strip was getting bombed/ Obama didn’t say shit/ That’s why I ain’t vote for him/ next one either.” The rest of his album proved to be a less politically-charged, but his interviews have picked up where that song left off. Last night on CBS’s What’s Trending, Lupe let loose one particular line that commanded a bit of attention.

In response to a query about his “politically charged” music, Lupe had this to say:

“To me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s actually causing the other forms of terrorism. The root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen and the foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists.”

Granted, Lupe’s anti-government stance is nothing new, and he does make some valuable points—during a recent Colbert appearance he encouraged everyone to “always criticize power”—but was his choice of words a little distasteful?

In terms of suggestions for fixing the problem, he had this to add: “No, I don’t vote. I don’t get involved in politics. It’s meaningless. If I’m going to say I stand behind this person and write on a piece of paper that says, ‘Yeah, I stand for this person,’ then I have to take responsibility for everything he does cause that’s just who I am as a human being. So politicians aren’t going to do that because I don’t want you to bomb some village in the middle of nowhere.”

Here’s a guy who got caught up in so much red tape with Atlantic Records that he contemplated suicide and almost quit the business entirely. It’s interesting, then, that his hatred seems to fall so squarely on Obama, despite the run-a-round politics and red tape that’s endemic in any government.

Kanye West & Mos Def Join Lupe Fiasco for Blue Note Show

It’s not often that you arrive late to a packed, sold-out New York City show, get asked to return later, and then get lucky enough to catch three artists like Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, and Kanye West on stage in a venue so small that you can literally feel the swag. But hey, sometimes miracles do happen, and we happened to be there to catch this one. With little over a week left before the release of his highly-anticipated Lasers album, Lupe Fiasco performed four shows at Blue Note Jazz Club this weekend with the Robert Glasper Experiment and a one-off appearance from the aforementioned guests.

Attentive fans who queued up on West 3rd Street for the 10:30pm show on Saturday might have noticed Mos Def lounging near the front door. Though he was dressed to the nines, the Brooklyn rapper couldn’t have been more casual – taking a phone call, saying a quick “wattup” to fans, and filing inside without a fuss. Then, not too long before the show started, Kanye West brushed past the bar and made his way up to Lupe’s dressing room (after politely declining to kiss the hand of one very excited fan).

During the first few minutes of the show, Mos hung close to the bar area and casually observed Lupe onstage as he performed bits from “Kick Push” and “I Gotcha,” and joked with the audience and band. Then the moment came when both Kanye and Mos joined Lupe onstage to launch into a freestyle cypher over the mellow jazz beats. Kanye unleashed a few lines that tickled the crowd, including his prediction that his critic-approved album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy would likely be another Grammy flop. “Now I’m scared of the Grammys/’cause everybody know that Dark Fantasy was the highest rated album in history, get me?/ So I just avoid it, not to be exploited/not be recorded.”

After that, Mr. West did something that his critics (and Taylor Swift) would argue is a rarity. He hung back. Ye let Lupe and Mos Def continue to rile up the crowd, while he lingered behind them on stage, simply nodding to the beats and enjoying the moment.

Listen to audio from the show below:

Kanye West Freestyle (cisconyc.com) Kanye and Mos Def at The Blue Note Ft. Robert Glasper Experiment by cisconyc

Lupe Fiaso “Kick Push” Kick Push Live at The Blue Note Ft. Robert Glasper Experiment by cisconyc

Update: Watch footage of the show from Revivalist.

Revivalist Exclusive: Lupe, Mos & Kanye Freestyle with the Robert Glasper Experiment from revive da live on Vimeo.

Lupe Fiasco Raps Politics On ‘Words I Never Said’

Lupe Fiasco’s third solo album, Lasers, will finally arrive in early March after months of bitter label drama and resulting protests from irate fans. And if Lupe’s second official single “Words I Never Said” is any indication of the album’s remaining content, the opinionated Chi-Town MC will finally unleash the tirade of social and political commentary that fans have been missing since 2007’s The Cool. Over a raucous beat from producer Alex Da Kid and a catchy hook from mysterious singer/songwriter Skylar Grey, Lupe wastes no time delving into his musings on the war on terror, which he dubs “a bunch of bullshit” and a “poor excuse for you to use up your bullets.”

One of the song’s most surprising moments also finds Lupe condemning controversial media personalities Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in the same breath as President Obama: “Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist/Gaza Strip was getting burned, Obama didn’t say shit/That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either.”

Welcome back Lupe. Listen to “Words I Never Said” below.

Oppression Gets the Kick-Push: ‘People Speak’ with Lupe Fiasco

America’s struggle with oppression of every stripe is a storied history. The People Speak — a riveting, extensive documentary directed by Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove, and Chris Moore — features an A-list cast (Marisa Tomei, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Kerry Washington, Viggo Mortensen, Eddie Vedder, Sandra Oh, Lupe Fiasco, Danny Glover, Sean Penn, John Legend) and covers the topic from every possible angle. Despite the film’s current status of simmering in post-production, last night’s MoMA screening provided a platform for some of Hollywood’s finest to show off their talent for translating these issues in the most direct way possible. The three-hour-plus film alternates between archival footage, monologues of historical speeches, and letters and acoustic performances — all focusing on the American history of Democracy and human rights struggle. Yet, as is often the case with Cultural Functions for “Serious” Topics in New York, nothing follows a firm history lesson like an intimate little soiree.

People’s Revolution put on the afterparty, sponsored by Alternative Apparel (which supplied the gift bag’s bangin’ graphic tees). Kerry Washington, Howard Zinn, and Lupe Fiasco made appearances, as well as Yigal Azrouel, straight from the GQ/CFDA Menswear Awards. Fiasco showed up playing a modest fashion card in thick-rimmed specs and a letterman jacket; we got in to talk to him about the film, as well as a little random, mood-lightening Q&A.

How’d you get involved with The People Speak? My name was in the air for the kind of music that I do, and the film’s producers got in touch with my manager and we put it together, went out to LA, and just did it. It was that spot-on. It was really democratic, like, “What do you want to read?” They had a selection of stuff they wanted me to read, and I chose what I thought fit best, and thought that I could do well.

Did you get a chance to interact with the other members of the cast? It was done in different places and different parts … everyone was on their own schedule. But it was cool. You would meet people coming in and coming out. And with the entourages and the producers there — it was cool. Even though it seemed like we didn’t have an audience in certain scenes, it was still like a little arena of people right there. Everyone going, “wooh, wooh” in the audience.

What are your feelings about the Grammys this year? I went in, I had four nominations, I was happy. I kinda lost all of them, but even so, it was good. It was the best Grammys that I’ve been to. The performances were really good.

Where were you when you found out that you were nominated? I have no idea. I found out about my first nomination when I was on an airplane. I have no recollection about this one. I was on tour.

Who’re some of your biggest idols? A lot of people that should have been in that movie, and would’ve related to the movie. People like Bob Marley, people like Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols. Musicians with a cause, and with a voice. That’s what I’m inspired to be, and to have that kind of social awareness.

Let’s say you’re on a spaceship, going to the moon, and you have to listen to one song on repeat the whole way, what’s it gonna be? Robert Glasper, “G & B.” It’s a jazz piano record. It’s my favorite record in the whole wide world.

Who would be your date if you could go back and take any girl to your senior prom? I’d take Sandra Bullock.

The people have spoken, and will continue to. Check out the trailer for The People Speak below.

Photo: Patrick McMullan
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Top of the World, Ma!

imageMoby, on the top terrace of the El Dorado, New York City.

“My apartment uptown is the top five levels of the El Dorado, which is a legendary art deco building designed by Emery Roth, originally constructed in 1927. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Bono to Groucho Marx has lived there at one point or another. My apartment has five terraces, two of which are 360 degrees, and from the terraces you can see all of Central Park, Long Island Sound, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Hudson River past the George Washington Bridge. It’s basically unobstructed views for about 40 or 50 miles in every direction. Plus, the very top is really popular with hawks and falcons (the birds, not the sports teams).

imageI have a lot of fears, but I’m not afraid of heights. It’s not such a nice apartment for anyone who’s afraid of heights; the very, very top is particularly disconcerting, with a sheer drop of about 400 feet and no guard rail. On one hand, the space is incredibly tranquil and quiet and pristine. When you stand atthe top terrace you feel like an enlightened superhero, with New York City spread before you and only the occasional hawk or falcon hovering nearby. It’s probably the most private apartment in New York, with the only non-bird neighbor being two stories down. And while it’s quiet and pristine, it’s also a fantastic place for a good ’70s-style disco party, replete with all the degenerate trappings of a good ’70s disco party.”

Moby’s new album, Last Night, will be released this month. Photos by Jelle Wagenaar.

imageGavin Rossdale, at Freemans Sporting Club, Lower East Side, New York City.

“If any day can be sacred, there’s nothing to replace the elixir of a razor-sharp shave, a fresh haircut, and some new threads, ideally at Freemans Sporting Club. The warmth of the shop and the accompanying restaurant hit you with the stately, homely décor of a bygone era—a nostalgic glow of style and practicality. You can enter, naked and unkempt, spiritually disheveled, thirsty and hungry, and leave like a punk lord. The food is delicious, the clothes buzz with style, and the staff, skilled and friendly—what’s not to enjoy? I go for the feeling, and the care that’s been put in the place. The places we love have a little of us in them, a kinship maybe. The food is simple, but it takes skill to leave things alone: food without pretense. Bukowski said it best: ‘Don’t Try.’ There’s cold beer on tap, and the mac ’n’ cheese? It’s a gateway to childhood.”

Gavin Rossdale’s solo debut, Wanderlust, will be released this month. Photo by Shawn Mortensen.

imageSia, at the dog park in Silverlake, Los Angeles.

“I spend at least an hour a day at the park with my two mutts. I have Pantera Marvelous, who is black and looks like a shiny labrador pup, but really is a fully grown anomaly (my vet, who is Japanese, calls him a new “bleed”), and Licklick Science, who is seriously licky, and looks like a small Benji dog with three legs. A coyote ate my baby’s leg off. It’s a grand community at the dog park, and an awesome place to observe politics and mood. I have made friends and enemies there. (Pantera has some ‘behavioral issues’ and can be snappy—so embarrassing.)”

Sia is currently on a U.S. tour in support of her album, Some People Have Real Problems. Photo by Sye Williams.

image Lupe Fiasco, on the R train, New York City.

“The life I lead can be very private sometimes, which can create somewhat of a glass ceiling, as far as creativity goes, so for a ‘creative escape’ I need to be in places of public interaction, and in some circumstances that means public transportation. It’s like a public rejuvenation when you live a private lifestyle… It makes sure that my work is grounded in reality and the human experience; you see all forms of the human experience on the train.”

Lupe Fiasco is on tour with Kanye West this month. Photo by Flora Hanitijo.
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