If you feel Lupe Fiasco’s latest album, Tetsuo & Youth, is a large sea to dive in, don’t be alarmed. The architect designed it as such.
After the flirting with outskirt territory on his previous two studio efforts that many felt was beneath him, the Lupe who fans identify with in a sense of generalization, has emerged from the ashes on what is to be his final album on Atlantic Records. While out in Los Angeles for a very informative sitdown with DJ Skee, the shrewd Chicago MC also gave Hip-Hop Wired a few words of enlightenment on what to expect from the much-anticipated project.
“There are layers to it that I built for people who want to investigate and get down and provoke thought,” he explains. And it’s just for the sake of doing that. There’s actually meaning that will connect you to another piece that will hopefully open up another piece of meaning–in life.” To create an album in 2015 that actually polarizes potential buyers is damn near taboo, but Lupe revealed to us that it’s exactly what took place here.
“It’s not for the new Lupe Fiasco fans. It’s for the core fans. It’s for the people who want that. But there’s a surface to it if you want to just vibe to the beats. Y’know like listen to “Mural” and say, ‘Ah, he’s rapping phenomenal.'”
Lupe isn’t just tooting his own horn to because he likes to hear his own cornet play. The album clocks in a robust 80-something minutes, with plenty of labyrinth interludes and double entendres that do a total 180° on the iTunes modus operandi of today. Yet, if the end goal isn’t to bring new Lupe Fiasco fans into the fold, how are the people supposed to adhere and make it cultivate into rap’s society?
“I’m not worried about ‘them’,” he responds matter-of-factly. “I’m worried about what we got. And that’s another lesson in itself [with the album]. What we have is enough. Let’s build up and empower what we already have before trying to go out and get everything else, because that could f*ck you up. You could end up with those Lasers,” he said with a grin. “So as a community, as a nation, as a religion–or even the core fan base–let’s just focus on what we do well. This is an example of that in practice.”
Photo: Instagram/Lupe Fiasco