If ever there was a rapper who knew the power struggle between an artist and his label home, Lupe Fiasco is it. His public battle with Atlantic Records to release his album Lasers raised greater questions about consumer behavior, artists' lack of control, and the fan's ability to sway the decisions of record labels. Lupe sat down with Rubyhornet.com to explain his frustration with Atlantic while negotiating the release of his album.
"At one point in the process, it was really like the phone calls to the label wasn't even about Lasers [anymore]. It was like, 'Yo, we want out. Like, what do we need to do the album? Do you want money? Do you want rights to the rest of my songs for the rest of my life?' For a while it [seemed] like, this album wasn't coming out."
And pessimism over whether the album would come out influenced his work, Lupe said. He admitted that his interest in Lasers began to wane as time passed.
"It took so long that I started to get into other projects. And [people would ask] 'What about Lasers?' And I'd be like, 'I don't know, ask [the label].' So I would lie if I said my heart was 100% in Lasers like that, during the creative process and even now. Because I know the pain that went into it. But when you listen to the album, you won't hear that [pain]. You won't feel that...But at the same time it's matched with a certain level of excitement and happiness getting past that, getting it out."
If anything positive came out of this experience, it is surely Lupe's new relationship with Atlantic.
"It'll change the way they do business with me. But I'm just a small guy with a very big mouth. With fans with a very big mouth. And I carry a lot of weight."
Lasers releases in the spring of 2011.