At 36 years old, Lupe Fiasco has a Grammy trophy on his shelf, his own clothing line and, of course, several hit songs under his belt. He was in the Philippines recently for a concert at Cove Manila and Bulletin Entertainment caught up with him a few hours prior, just when he was digging into a bowl of Arroz Caldo.
The rapper said he always wanted to be one as early as 15 years old. He recalls one of his friends tell him, “Oh, you sound like a real rapper,” and something clicked inside his head.
“From there, I devoted my energy into doing it and this is what I became,” he said.
Where do his rhymes come, we asked.
“Everything that I do (write) has a little bit of my experience. I can articulate it or I’ve been aware of it like, ‘Oh, that’s real life situation – let me translate that into music,’” he revealed.
Apart from rap music, Lupe is inspired by, well, “everything” from people to different types of music genre as jazz, punk rock – and even traditional music from China and Africa.
Like any normal job, Lupe explained his career has its own ups and downs.
“It’s a full-time job. It’s actually more than a full-time job. It’s like 24 hours a day. There’s a lot of responsibility. You have to focus on the business; you have to focus on being a celebrity and also on social media.”
“But it’s still worth the work,” he added. “The chance to do music, the chance to create things, there’s just no award or a thing that’s better than that.”
We asked Lupe what’s his advice to aspiring rappers and he said that it’s best for them to look within themselves.
“Don’t be like me – be better than me,” the rapper said. “Focus your attention on writing the best rap that you can write or the best music that you can create. There’s a lot of luck involved in trying to get into some level and it takes a lot of patience.”
In Lupe’s case, his first album didn’t come out until 10 years from the time he started trying. So, yes, Lupe knows all about hard work and being realistic.
He said it is important to know what you want because everything will be clear when you know your goals.
“If you’re just kind of vague, ambiguous in terms of your goals then life will become super stressful and super chaotic,” Lupe said.
“You have to start by saying, ‘I want to do this’ and then just do it in whatever capacity you can.”
Based from all his experience, Lupe believes that “once you know what you want, the universe will organize it for you.”
Lupe has his community advocacy called “M.U.R.A.L (Magnifying Urban Realities & Affecting Lives)” that empowers youths from the inner-city as an artists, activists and global citizens. His foundation also provides meals and winter clothing to the youth.
According to his official website, Lupe desires “to promote generational wealth and awareness” so he can continue to inspire other people.