Why Lupe Fiasco Is Amazing
This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to see this man perform live:
Let me just say right off the bat that this show was in-freakin-credible. Lupe Fiasco is a truly gifted performer and I would have driven further than Greenville to see him. It was really lucky that I got to see him in the first place. A few weeks ago, my friend Julian told me about this show and got me really excited about it. The trouble was, I usually work on Thursdays (the day of the show) and there’s usually no one with which I can switch shifts. By the grace of God, I found out that I didn’t have to work, so I agreed to drive the 2.5 hour trek to ECU (where we proceeded to get lost in Greenville, but that’s another story).
Lupe was scheduled to perform for ECU’s homecoming (Side Note: UNCW, get on the ball), so there was a little bit of homecoming nonsense going on before the show actually started. My only complaint was that the people onstage during these little shenanigans didn’t really know what they were doing with the mics, casuing more technical headaches than there needed to be.
Finally, the show started around 8. The opening band was a dance-rock band from Chicago named Hey Champ. They announced from the stage that they were new recruits to Lupe’s record label, 1st & 15th Entertainment (or F&F), which answered most everyone’s question as to why a rock band was performing before Lupe. Hey Champ’s lineup included a guitarist/singer, a keyboard player, and a drummer. Musically, they were very solid, keeping a very tight groove throughout the set and having a sound reminescent of Achtung Baby-era U2 mixed with Daft Punk and a little Bloc Party thrown in for good measure. They did a very good set and got the energy up where it needed to be when Lupe took the stage.
Then, after some more technical problems, the man himself took the stage
Once Lupe took the stage, the crowd went absolutely nuts. Lupe and his band seemed to feed off the energy that was in the room. Before going into this concert, I thought that since Lupe has a really smooth delivery on his albums, he would be kind of sedate during his live shows. I was wrong. Homeboy was all over the stage, so much so that it was really hard to get a picture of him. Lupe and his hype man were getting a real workout that night. Lupe Fiasco also proved himself to be the consumate showman, in control of everything onstage. His band (oh by the way, he had a FULL BAND. AAAH!) was responsive to his every syllable and really pumped up the energy in the songs by dancing in synch with one another and even jumping up and down during the songs. it reminded my of an old Motown or soul band in the way that they all moved together and played together as one cohesive unit. Impressive, most impressive. Lupe even proved himself capable of physical feats by not only rapping with incredible speed and delivery, but actually doing backflips (!!!) onstage. Throughout the show, he would comment on the state of affairs and segue into his songs using that method; it all makes sense because Lupe is highly aware of social problems and the image that hip hop creates for itself. (Side note: Listen to “Dumb It Down” to get a sense of how different Lupe is from other MC’s.)
So in a sense, Lupe’s show had the awesome flow and good times of a good rap concert, the manic energy and drive of a punk rock show, and all the brilliance and social commentary of a lecture by Dr. Cornel West. Lupe Fiasco’s show at ECU was truly a thing of greatness to behold and was an inspiration to me as an artist. Those that go to ECU and didn’t see Lupe really missed out.