Earlier this month, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco released the first single from his upcoming album, Tetsuo & Youth. Titled “Mission,” the DJ Mustard and Soundz-produced record directly addresses cancer.
While appearing on MSNBC’s “Newsnation,” Lupe spoke on the inspiration for the song, which he says started with a friend and professor at Chicago State University and eventually snowballed into a song that was made for a myriad of people suffering from cancer.
“My grandmother passed away from cancer, but it was very sudden,” Lupe said. “It wasn’t a drawn out kind of battle or fight. And that was a few years ago. And just recently I had a few friends and different people in my life, specifically a professor at Chicago State University named [Kwesi], Brother [Kwesi], who developed cancer last year. And his reaction to it was he was gonna fight it. And fight it in a very bold, aggressive, vigorous kind of manner. It was the first time I’d ever seen a close friend of mine battling with cancer. Battling a disease on that level. And the music that I make has to be relative to what I do or who I’m around or personal or what have you.
“It was kinda like ‘Hmm, Quasi needs a song,’” he added. “And not only Quasi, my grandmother. And then ‘Okay, what about the guy across the street? And my friend who has breast cancer. And then I know a friend of a friend who has lymphoma’…I didn’t want it to be something sentimental or something like you sit down and be sad about, but something where you can get up and actually go out and feel invigorated.”
During his interview on MSNBC, Lupe was asked if he plans on abandoning his social/political commentary on Tetsuo & Youth. According to the Windy City lyricist, he plans on taking a break from that particular type of commentary and will be more adventurous with this album.
“I won’t say abandoned. Just kinda took a break,” he said. “I guess, if that makes any sense. But just a powerful album. Trying to tell real stories. Like the same thing you see with ‘Mission.’ But at the same time too have some fun and then kinda push myself musically as well. So, there’s a few adventures we’re taking musically on that one.”
Tetsuo & Youth was announced well over a year ago and will serve as Lupe’s fifth studio album. Prior to this week’s interview, Lupe revealed that his upcoming album will be “just about music.”
“So, this record was just like, ‘You know what? My last album, Food & Liquor II, this is my standings. This is what I believe in and I ain’t gonna keep beating you over the head with it.’ So, now it’s just about music,” he said during an interview with Houston’s 95.7, last November.