Lupe Fiasco Explains How Compromise Affected "Lasers"

After fan protests and the gold single "The Show Goes On," Lupe Fiasco tells Complex the compromise to get a release date makes him love and hate his album.

After a standoff with his label, Lupe Fiasco says he has some mixed feelings about his upcoming album, Lasers. At one point he requested to be released from Atlantic, after telling fans he refused requests to sign a 360-deal and make more radio-friendly material. The standoff culminated with a fan-organized protest, after which Lupe and Atlantic Records came to an agreement.

“I love and hate this album,” Lupe recently told “I listen to it and I’ll like some of the songs. But when I think about what it took to actually get the record together and everything that I went through on this record—which is something I can’t separate—I hate this album.”

Despite Lupe’s stated mixed feelings about his upcoming album, the project does have a shot at crossover success. Last week, it was announced that his recent single “The Show Goes On,” was certified gold. However, Lupe explained to Complex that doing the single wasn’t really his call.

“I had to do ‘Show Goes On,’ that was like the big chip on the table,” he added. “I had to do it and it had to be the first single if the record was going to come out.”

To read the complete Lupe Fiasco interview, which also features Lupe explaining how tracks such as “Never Forget You” and the impact the Fiasco Friday protest made, visit


  • Smokey

    Fuck what a hater say, good work on this album. Keep doin ur thang bruh

  • Anonymous

    FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE COMING UP NEXT...hopfully...and the WAITING starts again before before the album even droped thats messed up i expected more from it almost seems like atlantic planed the pitishions to make up up for a shit album

  • FnF

    Lupe needs to release Friend of the People! Keep the real fans happy with some crazy metaphors and wordplay so the sting of Lasers won't be so bad!

  • Ignorant

    Man it must be pretty difficult to be an artist when you've got someone over you telling you how your vision needs to look.

  • Devin Williams

    Uh oooh. I dont like the sound of this. Lasers gonna be waack

  • Octavian Johnson

    Lupe should go Independent

  • Suggatee

    goddamn that album sucked. i mean im the biggest fiasco fan i know, and even i can admit it was weak. i know the label screwed with it but still, its wayyyyy to commercial for me to even relatively enjoy.

  • jack

    ======= GO TO www.DownloadMixtapes.Org/LupeFiasco And get leaked album for free

  • Anonymous

    You're all bitchin bout how the labels control everything, but you all seem to have fuckin computers. They don't control the internet nearly as much as broadcast radio or studio albums, or any of that shit. If you wanna make art for your own sake post it free on your facebook. If you wanna eat then you gotta play what the majority wanna hear, but just 'cus you make some songs that aren't political for a dollar doesn't mean you're a bitch. It's two whole different ball games. Just gettin' a few political songs on your label's stuff should be like icing on the cake.

    • Anonymous

      But answer this question. Is what the labels push what we want to hear or is it what they want us to hear?

  • kiddzues_

    lasers wasn't a bad album but i just expected more lyrically..

  • Anonymous

    God don't you HATE self-rightous pricks like Lupe? dammnit nigga just do your fucking job. Make the songs they want and throw in one or two "real" songs so people can say you great. That's how ALL the greats did it. Stop being a whiney bitch. There are thousands of people who would kill to be where he is and instead of appreciating it and doing what the label wants he's bitching and moaning.

    • fsdf

      that's what you call a sell-out lol

    • Angel De Peña

      AND Joe Budden > Lupe Fiasco Fuck Lupe. All he cares about is money and if you little fucks weren't so blind you'd realize that. When he first came out he was a gangsta rapper and when that didn't work out for him that's when he tried swag rapping like Cam'ron and then when that didn't work he switched to his gay ass Muslim shit, and that's what worked best so that's what he does. He doesn't care about you niggas.

    • Angel De Peña

      Lupe is a fucking crybaby If he doesn't want to have the label make him make pop music so THEY can make some money after investing MILLIONS of dollars into his trash album then he should just go independent. He wants to be on a major label and make major label money but doesn't want to make major label music. He's a little bitch.

    • Shane Bly

      "self-righteous pricks"? Lupe keeps it real like Nas and Common. he's WAYYY more respectable than most big rappers today. he did make a mistake for sticking with Atlantic Records tho......GRAND HUSTLE LIVE!

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Wouldn't be surprised if Lupe is off of Atlantic by the end of 2011 if that's the case. It seems like a big headache, something he probably didn't thin he'd sign up for

  • The.Watcher

    I gotta be honest, i loved Food & Liquor, but Cool didn't appeal to me at all... the songs I heard of Lasers don't do it for me, either. I'll still give it a listen tho, just to make sure, but Lupe has faded in my eyes, except Japanese Cartoon, that was pretty cool.

  • Anonymous

    i mean if he feels as if he's selling out he could always take the cobain way out,a rapper selling out doesnt bother me but when they completely dumb it down(ex:50 cent,snoop dogg) and their music loses meaning thats when it gets bad,lupe didnt do that.

  • stephenc

    Cry me a river Lupe... you have to put out a few songs that sell mainstream for the record label AND yourself to make money. It's called a partnership. That's what most of these deals are now a days... You can't make all of these grassroots/political songs, sell a few, and expect Atlantic to be happy. Anyway, nobody wants to hear political shit in a club or when they're chillin anyway... I mean a few of those songs can be eye opening but that's all I would want to hear tops.

    • Anonymous

      lupe isint club music.

    • Anonymous

      @stephenc:T hats one of the most ignorant things that can be said. I see what kind of hip hop you like. And also it depends on the artists audience.

    • The Man

      thats right nigga dont question anything or try to go against us. just keep smoking your reefer and listening to music that will spark no eye opening. -The Man

  • Quantaivas Young

    Just look at the track list and remember how we were all let down with The Cool, and forget about Lupe Fiasco for now.

  • TheCool

    Does anyone know what brand t-shirt Lupe is wearing on the picture above???? ON: i'm still buying Lasers just to support Lupe and for the songs that are "his" because i'm sure those songs are great like Words i've never said and All Black Everything.

  • YouSerious?

    Here's an idea: Lupe saying this is like him trying to bail out on taking any responsibility if people don't like his new album. The labels aren't the ones making the songs.

  • Anonymous

    thats mad fucked up!! jay-z doesnt offer wack deals to j cole and lil wayne didnt offer a wack deal to rick fouche

  • John-Boy

    Hate to get off the subject of the album but has anyone noticed that Lupe is starting to look like he may be on drugs? I know a dope head when I see one and he is starting to resemble one.

    • Anonymous

      he is human so he does age lol,but i wouldnt put drugs out of the question what to do when you're wealthy? experiment with different drugs is one activities

    • G

      Lupe is the last rapper on this earth that would be on drugs. But I do notice he looks different over the last couple years, especially when you look at old pictures of him.

  • stack that cheese

    if i was an artist i wouldnt put my name on something if i didnt 100% stand behind it

    • G

      I agree, but Lupe wasn't even excited about this album, the fans pushed it through with the petition so he said what the hell.

  • EddieMurrrphy

    guess i wont buy it then, fine.

  • Enlightened

    "The Show Goes On" video came on and my wife, who doesn't listen to much hip-hop, said "who is that?" (She wasn't lookin at the screen) I said it's Lupe Fiasco and she said she had thought it was Lil' Wayne or somethin. She was like "oh he tryin to be on that kind of rap now?" Perfect example of why the label made him do it...and why he didn't want to do it...and why most of y'all don't want him on that type of song


  • Anonymous

    a great example how the labels control the game.. thats why lloyd banks didnt sign with interscope again despite the offers he went indi and HFM2 was one of the best albums of 2010

  • Happyflip

    Lasers doesnt hold a candle to The Cool or Food and Liqour sorry Lupe

    • G

      Well, look at what Lupe's saying. He hasn't changed since The Cool, it's pretty much the label's fault. The controlled the entire album. Lasers is still gonna be a great album but it's only 30% Lupe and 70% label. The whole idea of Lasers was incredible and I only wish Lupe wouldn't have made the mistake of signing with Atlantic. Like Words I Never Said was a great track, but it was too pop for me. And Show Goes On was aight wasn't feelin the production on that either. All I care about is it'll be a nice release to hold me off for the year, and then Lupe will be droppin F&L2, which'll be incredible. LASERS!

    • Nana

      Ain't gonna lie I think I'm feeling the same way about it.

  • poison i

    i am just waiting for all of these ignorant people to say lupe went too mainstream for lasers. that is complete bullshit. he was forced to do a bunch of these tracks so anyone thinking he went mainstream STFU and read the full interview!

    • poison i

      word, i actually change my mind. 3/5 is a good rating for lasers, most of it just isnt that good

    • EddieMurrrphy

      he should just do what naS shoulda done and give this album out for free on the internets w/ material he really wants and loves on it. btw fuck that Nigger album NaS, that turned into nothing but untitled boring garbage

    • EddieMurrrphy

      im not that into lupe i checked out (BOUGHT) his albums and a few mixtapes. dont make me feel guilty for being a fan. because apparently all of his fans are fucking stans, lol, and really obnoxious ones. he is not that great but he is decent. i hate admitting that here. and i'll still get called a hater for saying both his studio albums were 3/5. WHAT MOTHERFUCKER TEST MY OPINION/ HIP HOP KNOWLEDGE.

    • poison i

      *yeah he did go mainstream, sonically. but its still lupe fiasco, same lyrical themes. so yes you are right he did go mainstream to a certain extent. but dont expect future lupe albums to sound like this one. lupe himself said it was basically a pop album.

    • poison i

      hah come on now, he said it was for the people, he couldn't just not put lasers out. y'all should chill out anyways and just not listen to lupe anymore then. peace

    • EddieMurrrphy

      poison i is a fake ass enlightened clown. do you think you were the only one who read the article with a brain on your shoulders what an idiot.

    • Anonymous

      he sold out, it was his choice

  • Anonymous

    like someone below said,he needs to go indie,it would be a great move

  • Shady

    It has leaked!! Filesonic/ both are working, Fantastic album!

    • Anonymous

      i just think it over does it with the voice enhancer/autotune choruses

    • Anonymous

      Most people are shittin on it, although common sense tells me there just hating it because Lupe said to in this interview, lol I liked everything I heard from it so far

  • williano

    youtube my name check out some of my music williano here some links hope they work check out some of my music

    • Stop it

      My man. Stop throwing these bullshit links out here. If you want people to hear your shit. Get it pressed and send it to HipHopDX for consideration. No one wants to hear your fisher price raps on youtube.

  • dynamicproducer

    thats the business at its finest

  • Omar

    The record company was right. He's going to have a big week because of The Show Must Go On and his buzz from Words...and All Black Everything. He needs to stop complaining about the product he's trying to sell.

    • Anonymous

      Thats what I was thinking. Dude is sabotaging himself. Who does that shit! U gotta remember this shit is a business. I dont subscribe to I gotta do a club song..Girl song etc.. Nah you should just record the music and let things happen naturally and then Pick the songs that represent you best while at the same time has most chance for success.

  • Anonymous

    his label gonna kick push his ass outta there once this album flops

  • anonymous

    He had to do what he had to do and F@#$ the Labels. Telling an artist what kind of music they can make whether its radio friendly or not. To take away an MC's thoughts is to take away part of an MC's essence. No wonder there is so much puffery in the game because at the end of the day for the labels its all about a dollar. Let an MC stay original not everyone wants to go pop some people see hip hop as poetry and not something just to make a quick buck. Saying he's crying thats bull because if I saw I was getting punked I say something about it.

    • fghh

      I dont know I mean I definitely see your point, a record labels a business. But to me you should only offer contracts to people you believe in. You should trust your artists to create art. Of course you have a right and more so a responsibility to your employees to make sure you'll make money but still theres definitely a line that labels shouldnt cross when your fucking with peoples creativity to me it just makes the whole process pointless. Like if you didnt want a lupe fiasco album on your label why did you sign him and if you did then let lupe fiasco make the album not yea he made the album but its more influenced from the label then his vision which is what we signed him to create.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^ i agree 100%. if i was a label head i would wan tto recoup too. but i think an artist like luope would acutally loose his fanbase and appeal by doing a "Black Eyed Peas" type of move.

    • Anonymous

      Hate to be Devils Advocate, but when a Label releases an artists album, there investing time and money into it, how can you not expect them to not have a say?? If you dont wanna deal with shit like that, stay independant, but if somebody came to me and said "Yo, I wanna make an album, loan me a few million" my first question would be "Whats the album about" and then I'd wanna see what I had to do to make sure I was gonna get my money back.... Lupe needs to go indy, he wants to be a major label artist but doesnt wanna make major label music.......Its like wanting to play for the NFL and then bitching about being recognised in public, dont wanna deal with that shit, go play in canada

  • Mike Meraz

    Watsup with these lame ass "Itunes bonus tracks"??? You should get those tracks when you get your ass off the couch, take your ass to Target and buy the damn album. "I'm Beaming" and "Shining Down" are Itunes Bonus tracks??? How about you just put those tracks on the damn album! Man this shyt is all fucked up world.

    • poison i

      AMEN. same thing happened when i bought MBDTF. it didn't have see me now on it. and recovery had the same problem

    • Mike Meraz

      Hell Yeah. I'm probably gonna take the bus March 8th morning to go cop this album when it's like 25degrees outside and I can't get the "Bonus" tracks? That's if I have money but after reading this I won't feel bad if I download it until I can come up with 15bucks

    • Anonymous

      yeah thats fucking lame, the bonus should be for people that go out and buy the cd, not for those punks who download it with their daddys credit card

  • Anonymous

    This dude always crying about shit, Kanye Jr. *Rolls Eyes*

    • Curt Mcgirt

      @ Mike, this the major problem I have with today's hip hop "fan". If you dont like the album, dont like it but dont dislike the album, steal it and turn around and act like your doing him a favor by explaining why. How can the man be a sell out when he refused to bow down to the label to begin with? I want to find out how this compromise will affect the music at the end of the day. Until then I'll just wait for the album to drop sit with it and listen before judging.

    • Anonymous

      yeah he should be happy he dont have to work at burger king, but he wants to bitch about putting out music for a living

    • Anonymous

      your too dumb to understand his lyrics you simple fuck

    • Geoff 'g Louis' Proctor

      Right, he really is sounding bitchy. Be glad you have the platform to share your music, a lot of hungry artists would probably be more appreciative. Shut up, make music and count your blessings, dude......

  • Mike Meraz

    Lupe doesn't even like the album? Every track I heard from this album so far is radio friendly... The Show Goes On, Never Forget you, Words I didn't Say, etc... I'll probably download this album before I waste my money on another sell out. Sorry Lupe, don't blame it on me, blame it on the album and the label... I waited 4 years for 11 radio friendly tracks??? Yeah Right..

    • Meh

      First of all, it's Words I Never SAID. Okay? SAID. Lol. And I beg to differ with Little Weapon in the hook department...

    • Mike Meraz

      I like "Words I Never Say" but Never Forget You and The Show Goes On are good songs but you can tell they were made with the intent of being radio friendly before the intent of being good songs. If you know what i mean

    • Mike Meraz

      "The Coolest" "Gold Watch" "Streets On Fire" "Little Weapon" "hello/Goodbye" "The Die" "Put You On The Game" "Fighters"... Not really radio friendly songs, where's the hook? And Paris/Tokyo?? That's probably one of the dopest Hip Hop song made in the past decade, even though I'm sick of it lol That album had like 20 songs on it. This one has 11 and Lupez not even feeling most of them. But I heard State Run Radio, I just wanna hear the studio version, can't wait for that "1"

    • Geoff 'g Louis' Proctor

      But those 3 songs you just named, are all good. So the fact that they also happen to have radio quality makes them less "real".....? So nevermind that he now has crossover appeal and could gain new fans, right?....smh

    • Sticks Good

      Did you buy The Cool?...Because that was definitely a radio-friendly album...Go-Go Gadget Flow, Superstar, Paris, Tokyo, Hip-Hop Saved My Life, Go Baby...Why would anyone expect Lasers to be much different?...

  • drHankMcCoy

    Yo, dude just needs to put out A Rhyming Ape Pt. II for free. I bet it would make everyone feel better.

  • Anonymous

    so basically he sold the fuck out shoulda changed his name and put it out independently the way he wanted it

    • Anonymous


    • One Hunit

      Co-sing that shit Anonymous A. He didn't sell out, he was forced to make those tracks B. It was either that or no album at all, and Ill take a radio-friendly album C. The messages are still there, just "dumbed-down" for retarded people like the guy who said he sold out D. Read the fuckin interview and then try and tell me he's a sell-out Lupe is one of the realest MC's, if you callin him a sell-out, then I dont know what a sell-out is. So what he wants to be major and make some extra cash, hes mainly trying to get big and put out his messages on the radio. Words I Never Said would be a great radio track. It's catchy and the message on it about war and politics is incredible. If you don't understand "The Cool" you are not allowed to comment on Lupe's stuff. C'mon man, if you hate on Lupe you hate on rap because Lupe is REAL. I assume you listen to Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and Wiz Khalifa.

    • Anonymous

      So you live in a socialist country? I doubt that. And he didn't sell out. All of you kids bitching about it being "radio-friendly", who the fuck cares? His messages are still there, they're still positive, and the tracks are still GOOD. Quit bawwing at the compromise and enjoy what's coming out. Quit acting like you all hate this shit, you rate his tracks the highest on this site, you're not fooling anyone. Sit down, shut the fuck up, and listen to the music like you know you want to.

    • Anonymous

      i dont live in ur fucking shit country bro

    • Set Gecko

      I dont think they would've let me do that. Look at chamillionaire - his venom never comes out, cause his label OWNS them songs. There is a difference between creating something and owning something, living in a capitalist country, you should know that

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