Grammy-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco has defined what he believes to be success and said he does not sweat trying to make a classic album for sake of receiving a high rating from the media.
In Lupe’s eyes, the mere fact Jay-Z sees him as a stellar rapper is more confidence than any review could provide him.
“So let’s look at success is for me. When Jay-Z told me I was nice when I was 19, I was done. That was success for me. I didn’t want much. Little kid from the hood who wanted to be a rapper, my idol at the time told me I was nice. I was done. And I used to say that to people, ‘Listen, Jay-Z says I’m nice, so I don’t need to rap for you. I’m good.’ [Laughs.] I don’t really care about the five mics, I don’t care about the XXL ratings–not the magazines, I mean the ratings. I don’t care about Pitchfork’s 8.1 or 6.2 or whatever, The Rolling Stone’s five stars or four stars. Jay-Z said I was nice, so as a rapper I’m good. And I’m better than you. And I can really rap. And you’ll even say that I’m better than you. And just when you think that I’m not…go to sleep!” (Complex)
Earlier this year, Lupe opened up about not wanting to have the same fame as Jay.
”There’s a misunderstanding with my fanbase,” Lupe said in an interview. ”People [at Warner] feel they know my fans more than I do. They want me to step out of my comfort zone and step into theirs. I don’t have necessarily the celebrity success they want me to have but it’s more social success and being able to speak at a college about world affairs. That’s a success, to me. I don’t want to be Jay-Z and be worth $400 million and perform on every awards show. It’s getting in touch with somebody who needs to improve their self-esteem. As opposed to driving a Bentley and putting some chains on.” (The Age)
Lupe later clarified his statement and explained why artists like Hov and Lil Wayne should be be measuring tools for a person’s success.
“Jay-Z’s a personal friend of mine,” Lupe said in an interview. “[He] executive-produced my first album. [My comments were] just an example using him of how people rate success. There’s an idea of the status quo that every rapper wants to be Jay-Z. Nah. Every rapper does not want to be Jay-Z. Every rapper don’t wanna be Kanye West. Everybody don’t wanna be Lil Wayne. They wanna be who they are. … You’re a fool trying to chase that success down and manage it like that. I always look at my success as further than a dollar sign, further than record sales. … Everybody thinks because you’re black and you’re from the ‘hood, you wanna be Jay-Z. There’s kids who wanna be astrophysicists and don’t care about rap. That should be OK. You should be OK just being you, working your regular job and being happy. That’s why I made that statement. I felt it need to be said.” (MTV)
Lupe is most known for entering the rap game around 2006 with close ties to Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Thanks in part to the vocal support of Jay-Z, L.A. Reid signed Fiasco as a solo artist to Arista, but before anything of significance was able to happen (only a promo single and a couple guest appearances were set up), Reid was fired, leaving the MC without a label. Fiasco eventually landed at Atlantic. Preceded by the single “Kick, Push,” as well as several mixtapes and an appearance on Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky,” the album Food & Liquor was set to surface during early 2006, though an unfinished version leaked during the spring, pushing its official release back to September instead. The album earned Fiasco three Grammy nominations. A highly conceptualized follow-up, The Cool, was released in December 2007. (All Music)
Check out a recent Lupe Fiasco interview below: