Hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco first emerged in the mid-2000s with his highly successful debut album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. The Chicago emcee (real name Wasalu Jaco) began his career as a gangsta rapper but found success upon shifting towards more lyrical and socially conscious rap.
Jaco released his track ‘Could Have Been’ as a demo and was discovered by MTV. He then swiftly with Arista Records. However, he got dropped shortly after the president and CEO who signed him, LA Reid, left the label.
Fortunately, the then-president of Def Jam, Jay-Z, had followed Jaco’s career and knew he was a talent. That year, in 2005, Jay helped the Chicago artist secure a record deal with Atlantic Records. During this period, Fiasco was accruing an immense amount of fans with his Fahrenheit 1/15 mixtape series on the internet.
By 2007, Fiasco was at the top of the charts with his hit track ‘Superstar’ featuring Matthew Santos. With a music video directed by Hype Williams, the visuals premiered on BET’s 106 & Park, and the song peaked at number ten. The song has been used in several movies, and the buzz around the emcee was so intense he was even asked by Kanye West to feature on his number-one album, Graduation.
However, although Jaco was around Jay-Z and Kanye West, neither were his idols, and he had his own inspirations. Recently backstage at a show, Lupe Fiasco ran into his favourite artist, who was none other than the Queens legend Ja Rule.
In a video, he explained why Ja Rule (real name Jeffrey Atkins), stating, “This all I need right here! Listen, I grew up on Ja Rule. You feel me? I don’t give a f*ck what no motherf*cka say. Ask me who’s my favourite rapper, who I was listening to when I was coming up.”
He continued, “Even now! Give me Venni, Vetti, Vecci, ni**a. Give me motherf*ckin’ Pain Is Love over anything, ni**a. I don’t give a f*ck. Give me 3:36 over anything. F*ck these ni**as, feel me? I’m bumpin’ Ja! Ni**a, f*ck you!”