I can't complain.
Life is good, God is great.
happy with your first week sales?
albums. It's the No. 1 rap album in the country and the No. 2 R&B
album in the country. We beat Beyonce.
worried before the Best Buy numbers came in?
we projected 80,000. I was the No. 1 seller at Best Buy. When the numbers
first came out, people were like, Huh? Then everyone realized they didn't
have the Best Buy numbers.
What can Food and Liquor sell?
I look at
Food and Liquor doing 700,000. That's it. If it does anything above that
or below that, it's all good. But me looking at it as an artist, I know
if it does that much, I'm good.
you've done it in the past, but can you break down the album title?
If you look
at the signs on the CD, those are all actual signs. That's what the stores
are called in Chicago. For me, that was something specific and subtle
to represent Chicago. And I don't drink or smoke so the food represents
the good and the liquor represents the bad.
worried about alienating people who drink?
No. My experiences
with alcohol, it hasn't been a situation of moderation. If you drink two
or three beers, what comes out of that? Liquor is bad. For me, it's forbidden
in Islam. From what I've seen it do to my neighborhood and the people
and kids in my neighborhood and the ridiculousness that comes out of it,
I hate alcohol. I hate it. I hate the smell of it. I hate the way it looks.
I just hate it. If people are alienated by that title, then so be it.
hard being a Muslim in hip-hop?
hard being a Muslim in America. It's hard being a Muslim and existing
in this world because the religion is so strict. I didn't grow up Muslim.
I was born Muslim but I didn't go to a Muslim school. I was doing the
regular stuff but I was a Muslim. A lot of stuff that was normal for everybody
else was against my religious beliefs. That's for any religion though.
If you tried to follow everything in Christianity or Judaism, that would
be hard too.
system of beliefs affect who you'll work with musically?
real particular about who I work with and who I collaborate with. Sometimes
it doesn't come out like that. I wanted to work with 3-6 Mafia. People
said, Why do you want to work with 3-6 Mafia? Because I'm a fan. Being
a Muslim or not, I'm a fan, genuinely. I'm going to find the good in it.
It's like that with Jill Scott too. I respect Jill Scott's aura past music.
She's dope. There aren't too many people I respect past their music, as
people. That's why you don't see me on everybody's mixtape and in everybody's
face. I've turned down a lot of things. I could be bigger than I am right
now. Much, much bigger, but I chose not to be. I chose not to be on an
alcohol-sponsored tour and I turned down McDonald's. They're not going
to be promoting Sausage McMuffins with my music. A lot of people don't
understand that the music turns off at the end of the day and it doesn't
matter how famous you are. You could have your mansion with thirty cars
and 10,000 chains and you could be scared because you know what you had
to bow down to to get that stuff.
Terrorist" seems to be everyone's favorite song off Food and Liquor.
Are you surprised?
the climate we're living in, you would expect that. When that song gets
out, it's going to be people's most hated song too because of the fingers
it points and my background. It's probably going to get me ostracized
and shut me down in certain arenas, but you have to tell the truth sometimes.
be the next single?
be the last single for the album.
the next single?
our singles. The single in the UK was "Daydreaming" and the
single over here was "I Gotcha." We're going to switch that.
I think next we'll do "Sunshine" or "He Say She Say."
We may also do something with "Cool."
did Jay-Z's cosign mean to you?
I think it
meant more to other people. It meant that I'm nice. It meant I had nothing
more to prove to fans. It meant Jay-Z thought that I'm nice. For everybody
else, they wanted to give it a chance because Jay-Z was behind it. It
added that extra value to it for everybody else.
Jay do as Executive Producer?
a lot of stuff behind the scenes. He pushed for the Mike Shinoda collaboration.
He also helped smooth over the Pharrell record. His name being attached
opened up a lot of doors behind the scenes. "Oh, Jay's behind him?
Open the door." (pause) They got a video for "Stuntin' Like
My Daddy"? That's my favorite song right now.
it opening up for Jay in Europe?
It was fresh.
It's weird though because I was just there with Kanye. We're hitting the
same venues and it's just as massive. We went over there at the peak of
Late Registration. When we went over there with Jay, we got the same reaction.
It was cool. It was fresh. He performed at Royal Albert Hall where the
Queen goes and Frank Sinatra played there and they had sumo wrestling
matches and things of that nature there. That was the first hip-hop show
they had there and it will probably be their last.
you're more popular than ever, are you worried about your older tracks
with a different vibe coming to surface and confusing your fans?
I told the fans about it. The pictures and videos will come. There's cameos
in videos that people didn't know about where you'll see me flooded in
diamonds. That's what I was doing. I was entertaining the hood. I had
my BMW on 22's and that was Lupe Fiasco when I was 19, 20. When you get
out, that's what you saw. When I got out of high school, I saw Nas' chain
and I saw him driving in his car and I was like, When I get that opportunity
to do that, that's what I'm going to do.
you going to do from here on out to promote Food and Liquor?
visuals. I think I can't promote it too much because it's already been
saturated. It's already been leaked twice. That first leak was huge. It
got major reviews and songs were getting airplay. It's still getting pushed.
We're just going to sit back and put out some more of the visuals and
we're going to tour. I can't say too much more about the album because
some people have heard it six months ago. Now I have a fan-base and now
it's time to expand the fan-base.
of Food and Liquor do you like the best?
Food and Liquor was supposed to be a double-CD. It was supposed to be
Food and Liquor. There were songs like "Proper" on there. There
were even songs on the leak that I wanted to put on Food and Liquor that
I couldn't put on. They still got released either overseas or as an iTunes
download. What I tell people to do is go get the album. take the leaked
version and some of the special iTunes tracks and make your own Food and
Liquor. I got hit with the politics at the end of the day and they couldn't
use certain songs because of the sample clearances and other things. That
kind of took the wind out of the sail. I'm 80% happy with it. I like it,
but I don't love this album.
true you're only doing two more Lupe Fiasco albums?
I have some
other things planned in between, but as far as solo albums, I'm only doing
in hip-hop aren't taken seriously for obvious reasons. How set are you
on only doing three solo albums?
I'm not coming
back. I'm focusing on my record label and I'm focusing on people like
Gemini and Shayla G and Risque. I'm going to take the knowledge I learned
about the pitfalls in the game and make sure they step over them. I'm
going to teach them the game so they become bigger than I am. That's what
I'm going to do. Being an artist is cool, but the music business is not
hot. It's not cool, especially if you have morals and a real conscience
about what's going on and what's being represented. I'm watching this
video now and it's ridiculous. That's your trade and that's what you work
in. It is what it is.
your plans for Gemini?
story. I think everybody is expecting everybody on 1st and 15th to be
like Lupe Fiasco but they're not. He sings and he rhymes. He has this
whole MC deal where he spits game and then he turns around and sings to
your girlfriend. It should be an interesting project.
going on with your clothing line?
to stay tuned to see what's coming out in the next couple of months. We're
working on some collaborations now. We're working it out with the companies.
They should be released over the next couple of months.
you want to say to everybody?
I hope you like it. The next one is Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. Then after
that it's one more and I'm done.