Wednesday, February 06, 2008

29 Days of Lupe: Politics As Usual

The votes are in... and the winner is?

The ROC boy still wins. Well, the one who some how still has a following of millions and has an even hand over Hip Hop fans and labels. It's no doubt well deserved; Jay-Z (or Dame) put in dilligence to get to the point they're at today.

Lupe Fiasco did his little mixtape grind thingy and then got a shoe in the door at Atlantic. He's already two albums in on a major label but where's the idolizing? Shouldn't Lupe be on some sort of pedestal, like Jay-Z? Why isn't there a consensus that Lupe is one of the best rappers on a major label. What more can he do? I don't know the particulars and this is a different era (downloading etc) but he's presevered through low budgets, sparse marketing and a general feeling of hoping he falls on his face to give the industry's "I told you so's" validation. It's as if the labels want to show themselves that heartfelt Rap cannot be felt, and sold.

Content is the reason that Lupe is not a superstar. Had he phoned it in and ran the stereotypical "I sold drugs, done dirt" thing, he'd be in bigger houses and with the in-crowd (and maybe have his own vodka!). Yet he decides to be introspective about his actual experiences and creatively spins themes in the black community that spur thinking. He says what we all feel but never seem to find the time to want to deal with--reality.

The reason I bring up Jay-Z is because, to me, there is no one better--ever. So why is there a difference in their career paths? Jay-Z is selling a fake life, the hustlers dream. More and more we find out that Jay's past dealings are very much in question leading to the idea that a bunk hustler is selling us street dreams. So, selling bullshit is successful? Of course it is. People, fans, love that shit; it patronizes them. We like to live a dream too, even if we know it's not real. Label's know this simple concept and they flock to it. They love to commercialize these dreams all the more. Keep people down. Don't give them an option/alternatives. Give people what they want to hear.

What Lupe is doing is bucking the trend (and the suits and ties). There are very few artists over the years that have retained my respect throughout their whole careers. Most rappers sell out in some form to push the decimal one more spot to the right. So far he's stuck to his guns, er, pencils. He's not concerned to morph into a spokesperson for stereotypes by label heads. The money, cars and bitches don't lure him. The only reason why labels are still with him is because he has a following--he's really profitable relative to the amount of money/attention they front him. Lupe is like the current Green revoltution going on in the U.S.; it's cool to be enviromentally freindly hence Walmart et al are offering Green products to the masses to look decent and plus it's still profitable. The labels know better not to give him anything more because that would wreck their whole philosphy of selling people garbage. Going Lupe would smarten us up. We wouldn't take what they offer anymore. There'd be a revoltion and it would be converted into an MP3 and sold on iTunes.


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