Lupe Fiasco

Real Name: Wasalu Muhammad Jaco
D.O.B.: February 17th, 1982 Chicago, Illinois

Label: 1st & 15th/Atlantic Records

Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 17, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is a Grammy-winning American rapper. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his critically acclaimed début album, Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. Prominent hip hop mogul Jay-Z describes him as a "breath of fresh air" in a new hip hop world characterized by mainstream pop and glamour, a sharp contrast with the widespread lyricism-focused rap of the 1990s, and critics have called him the "Hip-Hop Generation's Next Vanguard." His second album, Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, was released on December 18, 2007.

Born and raised on the Westside of Chicago, Wasalu Jaco is the fifth child of nine brothers and sisters. His father was an engineer, a prolific African drummer, karate teacher and owner of karate schools and army surplus stores. His mother was a gourmet chef. Jaco went to high school at Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois. He started rapping when he was in the eighth grade, but was initially put off by the vulgarity and violent imagery of his father's N.W.A. records. It wasn't until he heard Nas' 1996 album, It Was Written, at the age of 14 that he began to pursue hip hop music.

Growing up, Jaco was given the nickname "Lu," the last part of his first name, by his mother. "Lupe" is an extension of this nickname, which he borrowed from a friend from high school. "Fiasco," he says, "came from the Firm album. They had the song, 'Firm Fiasco'. I just liked the way it looked on paper."

The Early Career

By 19, Lupe Fiasco was in a group called Da Pak. They signed to Epic Records and released one single before splitting up. Fiasco later signed a solo deal with Arista Records, but was dropped when president and CEO L. A. Reid was fired. During this time, he had guest appearances on singles on Tha' Rayne's "Kiss Me" and "Didn't You Know" and also K Fox's 2004 "This Life." He also released the song "Coulda Been" on a 10/03 compilation of MTV's Advance Warning. He began releasing many mixtapes, developing a fan base via the internet. Just after Arista went out of business, rapper Jay-Z offered Fiasco a contract with Roc-A-Fella Records. Fiasco declined having already started his own record label.

In 2004, Arista went out of business and Lupe was signed with Atlantic Records. In early 2006, Lupe and his friend and hypeman Dusean "Bishop G" Dunbar started FNF Radio, a show on the college radio station WIIT located at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Food & Liquor [2006]

Lupe had gained a large underground following with the release of a series of critically acclaimed mixtapes, prominently Lupe's own Fahrenheit 1/15 Part I: The Truth Is Among Us, Fahrenheit 1/15 Part II: Revenge of the Nerds, and Fahrenheit 1/15 Part III: A Rhyming Ape. In 2005, Lupe was featured on two tracks on Mike Shinoda's solo mixtape titled Fort Minor: We Major. During this time, rapper and mogul Jay-Z heard Lupe and assisted him in the production of what would become his début album Food & Liquor.

In 2005, Lupe appeared on the Kanye West track "Touch The Sky" from West's Late Registration. Soon after, he released his first single "Kick, Push," a song heavily about skateboarding. As his popularity slowly increased, so did anticipation for his upcoming album Food & Liquor. The album was officially released on September 19, 2006. The album featured production from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, The Neptunes, and more. Singles from the album were "Kick, Push," "I Gotcha" and "Daydreamin'" featuring Jill Scott. On the album "Fiasco masterfully melds his peerless storytelling gifts with his idiosyncratic passion for skateboarding, fantasy, and incisive socio-political commentary." The critically lauded album was later nominated for three Grammys including "Best Rap Album." In the same year, he was voted by GQ as the "Breakout Man of the Year." Lupe also had a small feud with skateboarder Terry Kennedy.

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