Lupe Fiasco f/ Nikki Jean on Hannibal Buress

Gotta love Hannibal Buress keepin’ it Chicago for his season finale for Why? with Hannibal Buress new show on Comedy Central. His musical guest is one of his favorite rappers: Lupe Fiasco, who brought on Nikki Jean to perform “Prisoner 1 & 2” off Tetsuo & Youth.

This is the first time I’ve seen it live and Lupe, per usual, spits each line precisely that I just imagine the casual viewer or studio audience member being engrossed by, word for word. That’s why it’s always cool what Lupe chooses to perform on the national stage, let alone in general.

Also, of course, it’s great to see Nikki Jean beside him, singing the quick lines on the hook to perfection too. In general, it’s just great to see the duo continuing to make music and perform live and I have a feeling that won’t stop into the future. Especially on the heels of Lupe’s sweet birthday wishes to Nikki this week:

 

Oh, and I didn’t realize this until I saw the trailer in both Southpaw and Straight Outta Compton, but “Prisoner” is used in goosebump inducing fashion in the preview for Creed.

Tetsuo & Youth hidden meaning

This afternoon, a new in-depth piece by Thomas Golianopoulos for Grantland investigated a possible hidden meaning to Lupe Fiasco‘s fifth album, Tetsuo & Youth, which saw release as you know at the top of the year in January.

In brief, said hidden meaning: the album tells a story in reverse.

And though unconfirmed by Lupe himself, Golianopoulos breaks it down with compelling clues and interviews MoeZ’art (producer on “Prisoner 1 & 2” and “Deliver”) and an Atlantic A&R for all-new insight. They don’t know for sure either, but their input adds even more to the depth of the examination of the album as a whole. Also, quite frankly, they’re not sure either but they wouldn’t put it past them either.

Here’s a few excerpts from the piece, in full here. (This article is a great reminder why Grantland is my first go-to, in part too because of its extensive NBA coverage.)

At about the 54-minute mark of the conversation, Skee gave the floor to Lupe for one last album plug. “This is the album, you know what it is,” Lupe said while holding up the physical CD, flashing the cover art, which he had painted. “I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy it, and there’s a lot to it.”

At this point, he flipped the CD over to display the track list. The CD was also upside down. He ran his index finger down the tracklist, up, and then back down again. He wore a knowing smile throughout. “Put on your thinking caps. Go in a nice dark room every so often and just put it on, let it play all the way through and have fun.” This little gesture sparked something in Lupe Fiasco fans, a fervent, imaginative bunch to begin with. They have since flooded message boards, Reddit forums, rap blogs, and the annotation website Rap Genius with theories on Tetsuo & Youth — the most interesting of which argues that the album is meant to be played in reverse from Track 16 to Track 1.

BONUS: The part on “Adoration of the Magi” doesn’t mention the video for it that dropped earlier this month. But to me, the video supports the explanation that Lupe co-signed (seen below). Easily one of my faves on the album and of the year in general. (NSFW…)

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.37.02 PM

Read the full Grantland investigation here.

Lupe Fiasco “Adoration of the Magi” f/ Crystal Torres

“Adoration of the Magi” grew to be one of my favorites off of Tetsuo & Youth. Once I understood all the album cover allusions in the hook, the song jumped that extra level for me. Probably the coolest mind blown moment listening to hip hop this year and I can’t help but feel smarter when this comes on everytime my iPhone is plugged into the car (it plays the first song, alphabetically for some reason so “Adoration” reigns king.)

Anyway, the song now sees a surprise new video release today that doesn’t star Lupe, rather, a stripper. The entire video features various slow pans across a strip club with an abundance of unusual characters you wouldn’t normally see in a strip club. Per usual with Lupe (and frequent collaborator, director Alex Nazari), he delivers a deeper message by the end, which came at the exact right time of the song too — the masterful end of the 3rd verse.

At this point, press play but be sure to look both ways first, it’s clearly NSFW.

*TIBS FAV.

Lupe Fiasco f/ Nikki Jean “Madonna (And Other Mothers In The Hood)”

Lupe’s in Ernie Banks mode today (R.I.P.)… Let’s play two!

He impacted this morning with another lyrical gem “Atomic Misphilosphy” and now follows that up with the video for one of Tetsuo & Youth‘s strongest cuts “Madonna (And Other Mothers in the Hood)”. The visual gives a new perspective on the song, depicting a slow developing story throughout that first follows an adolescent teen boy through work, school, and more that I won’t give away. Lupe and Nikki Jean minimally appear throughout in performance scenes too, but stay tuned to see an emotional ending to say the least. Directed by Alex Nazari.

*Tibs Fav.

Lupe Fiasco “Little Death” on Jimmy Fallon

Last night, Jimmy Fallon was graced with a lyrical gem from Tetsuo & Youth — “Little Death” by Lupe Fiasco with featured guests Nikki Jean & Crystal “Rovel” Torres + The Roots.

As I always imagine when Lupe hits a national TV stage, I imagine the casual music fan being reeled in my Lupe’s clear delivery and the next level lyricism he conveys. “Little Death” is one of the deeper cuts off the album so I suggest popping up the lyrics and following along. After I digested it myself, I developed a greater appreciation for the song. Lupe comes in as clear as the studio in the live performance above and I’m always happy to see Nikki Jean get the bright lights as well. She sings the 3 different hooks in rhythm as well. What more can I say… watch up above and cop the album if you’ve still been sleeping.

Lupe Fiasco on Tavis Smiley

Lupe Fiasco’s limited interview run I believe concludes below with his appearance on Tavis Smiley. Lu is apparently going to go in the background now but before, we get to hear more about how the content on Tetsuo & Youth will need multiple listens to digest (it really does), his painting as the album cover, his relationship with Australia, and some thoughts on free speech. It’s all below if you click the photo — a quick 13 minute watch/listen.

  • Lupe Fiasco LIVE on Revolt TV

    With Tetsuo & Youth out now, Lupe Fiasco took to a live broadcast on Revolt TV to perform “Deliver” up above, and for the first time for the interwebs, “Adoration of the Magi”.

    I was intrigued to see the latter now considering it’s become one of my favorite tracks on the album since its release. Once I understood the hook…. woooooow. Watch below and click here to get it too. It’ll elevate your appreciation for the song, no doubt.

    http://revolt.tv/embed/3E652293-B5B5-473D-82FE-452E464A5356

    That’s not to discount “Deliver” also. Lu performs it with the same energy as his Seth Meyers appearance last week and I’m still rockin’ with this one too.