Chicago-based rapper Lupe Fiasco sat down with Katie Couric to address the blowback he received for calling Obama the “biggest terrorist.” He also talked about his new rap album, including an amazing cancer survivor-inspired song.
The Grammy Award winning artist, born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, says he was “immediately blackballed” when he called Barack Obama the “biggest terrorist.” I “Lost a lot of friends,” Lupe said. “Some of the board members of my foundation, the Lupe Fiasco Foundation, stepped down. I lost a lot of sponsorships.”
Couric asked Lupe if he regrets calling Obama the biggest terrorist for “continuing wars around the world,” to which Lupe responds, “no.” “It makes you stronger when you go through adversity like that. We don’t mind tacking that [terrorist charge] to Bush. We don’t mind pointing the middle finger at him, ‘Oh he’s the worse.'” “But when you get somebody,” speaking of Obama, “who unfortunately has to carry on some of those same policies,” we say, “he’s a great guy. “It becomes a weird place for people to critique. So that was a wakeup call for me, personally, professionally, artistically. And if I would not have gone through all of that craziness a few years ago then you wouldn’t have had a “Mission.”
Lupe says it’s not hard being a Muslim and a rapper. “I have friends who smoke. And I have friends that I see, unfortunately, drinking. At the end of the day, we all have faults, we all make mistakes. But that’s what the religion is for–to help you correct your mistakes.”
Lupe said he wanted to make conscious “think to” music because it “had a greater reaction.” He had a desire to create records that people could use to “empower” themselves “no matter what you’re doing, no matter who you are, what color you are, your political stance, your race stance, your religious stance.” He simply wants to make music that “affects you totally.”
So what affects Lupe Fiasco “totally”? Combating disease. Specifically, cancer.
“Mission” is the breakout single from his fifth studio album. The song features testimonial from cancer survivors. “Part of it was, I lost my grandmother to cancer,” Lupe explains. “Her transition was very quick. There was no chemotherapy. There was no struggle from beginning to end.”
Lupe is one of Stand Up To Cancer’s celebrity ambassadors. He is currently developing a remix to Mission and is hoping to add a few more testimonials. So, of course, he asked Katie Couric to add her cancer story to the remix. “That so flattering. I’m very honored,” a teary-eyed Couric said.
Here’s what Katie Couric had to say:
My name is Katie Couric. I lost my husband Jay to colon cancer when he was 42. I lost my sister Emily to pancreatic cancer when she was 54. We lost so much. But they miss so much; birthdays; graduations; weddings; babies. I hate that they miss so much. I don’t want other people to miss so much.
This story hits home for me. Cancer has targeted and taken away some of the best people I’ve ever known.
Check out Lupe’s new hit single Mission, below.
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