Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known as Lupe Fiasco, was born today [February 16] in 1982 in Chicago, Illinois.
Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Fiasco developed a love for Hip Hop after first disliking the genre for its misogyny and vulgarity. He began recording music at age 17 in his father’s basement and two years after joined a local rap group called Da Pak, who had a short-lived record deal with Epic Records. After the group disbanded, Fiasco met rapper and mogul JAY Z who helped him to sign a record deal with Atlantic Records.
On September 19, 2006, Fiasco released Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor which received three Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album, Best Solo Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song for his timeless single “Kick, Push.” This album had a great commercial reception, peaking at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart and #1 on the Billboard Top Rap albums chart.
This album helped Fiasco leap to commercial success and allowed him to release his second, and more politically influenced, album The Cool. During the recording of this album Lupe Fiasco’s father died of type II diabetes, his good friend Stack Bundles died, and his business partner and mentor, Charles “Chilly” Patton, was sentenced to 44 years in prison. When asked about this album, Lupe said:
“Oh yeah. A lot of loss. I lost my father, I lost my business partner to prison, and I lost some friends. It was a very dark period. It still is in some aspects, but you know, I’m kind of coming out of it. But especially during the time that the album was being cooked, in my head was a very dark kind of period.”
Fiasco released his third studio album Lasers on March 7, 2010. Although it received the most mixed reviews of all his albums, it was the first to peak at 31 on the Billboard 200 chart. This was his most successful commercial album, being certified double platinum In sales in the United States alone.
Since Lasers, Lupe Fiasco has released two albums titled Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 and Tetsuo & Youth. Both albums were quite successful making appearances on the Billboard 200 charts, Food and Liquor II peaking at #5 and Tetsuo & Youth peaking at #14. Both of these albums can also be considered the two least commercial albums from Lupe Fiasco’s career to date. They are both heavily conscious and focus on issues in this country that affected people of color, those affected by poverty, and Muslim-Americans.
Apart from music, Fiasco has ventured into a few other realms of business. He currently runs two clothing lines, Righteous Kung Fu and Trilly & Trully. Fiasco is also a known philanthropist and has been involved in many charitable activities such as the Summit on the Summit expedition.