April 11, 2011

Impending: Fiasco at Barton Hall

Print More

Just over a month after releasing Lasers: the album that almost wasn’t, Lupe Fiasco is teaming up with 70-degree days to heat up Bar-tundra Hall. Sunday’s show has been sold out for over a month (the Cornell Concert Commission’s fourth sellout in a row); Cornell’s student body gobbled up their pre-sale allotment four at a time and tickets were gone an hour after their release. Ticketless fans still have some hope though, and not only the kind that costs $100 per. Rumor has it that overzealous-profiteeraloma and out-of-town-friends-with-unanticipated-commitment-itis are both on the rise, and the only vaccine is remorseful-oversleepers’-cashmoneyphine. Experts warn: injections should be made frugally, and with shameless brutality on those scalpers who have demonstrated less dignity than the savages after whom their trade was named.

For those lucky enough to get their hands on a ticket (the real kind; be wary of Chiddy-Bang-esque online imitations), Sunday’s show promises Bar-tons of fun. The dude’s no shmuck, and he’s not afraid to let people know. Countering Eminem’s claim that he is the “best rapper alive,” Lil’ Wayne’s long-held conviction that he is the “best rapper alive,” and Jay-Z’s 2003 proclamation that he is the “greatest rapper alive,” Fiasco rebuked, and is quoted in XXL news as saying ,“Yo, I’m better than all y’all.”

Lupe Fiasco, whose real name Wasalu Jaco demystifies his selected alias upon attempted pronunciation, honed his hip-hop chops performing and recording through the 90s in Chicago, Illinois, where he was born and raised. After years of brushing shoulders with rap royalty, Fiasco released his debut album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor in 2006. The album’s powerful lyrics and Jay-Z-approved production shot Fiasco into the limelight — and the limelight shot back. The album was nominated for three Grammy’s, won one of them and, after a childhood of bad memories, Fiasco was dubbed GQ’s 2006 “Breakout Man of the Year.” They always say stress causes breakouts.

His sophomore album, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, solidified the aspiring rapper’s position at (or at least near) the top. The album’s first single “Superstar” hit Billboard’s Top Ten, and was absentmindedly sung by 98% of Americans under 20 every single day from September to November of 2007. The song’s hypnotizing meditation on inescapable attention is evidence of Fiasco’s departure from his Food & Liquor days. It also netted him another Grammy nod.

More recently, Fiasco’s sound has been swayed. The production of his third studio album, Lasers, was fraught with delays and funding issues. At one point, with Atlantic records dissatisfied with his progress, it looked as if the album would go unreleased. The album was released in March, but has undergone a critical bludgeoning surrounding its lack of cohesion and bite. The heady Fiasco has been vocal about the album’s shortcomings, but confidently notes that the album’s strongest element is still lyrical. A wordsmith stands by his words.

Fiasco’s opener, K’naan, is a poet with a reggae feel. Born to poets, he was raised in Somalia and experimented with spoken word and protest poetry from a young age. His talent is undeniable, and his Marley-esque vibe is infectious. Coca-Cola thought so too, and remixed K’naan’s single “Waving Flag” to use as their anthem for the 2010 World Cup. Sharing Lupe Fiasco’s appreciation for verse, K’naan’s performance is sure to be the perfect low-key dormroom pregame for Fiasco’s frat party.

P.S. Anybody got an extra ticket?

Original Author: Nathan Tailleur