Speaking with Torae on “The Tor Guide” on Hip Hop Nation on SiriusXM Radio, Lupe Fiasco detailed his label frustrations and anticipation to leave Atlantic Records.
When asked about his current relationship with the label and how he’s been treated by Atlantic, Lupe explained the issues.
“Bad, to keep it a thousand,” he said. “I can’t wait to get off. Even with that said, I’m coming with the biggest records of my career over the next two albums just to set myself up for that post-Atlantic Records career. I’ve had a very interesting run for various reasons. I don’t even think about it anymore. I just go ahead. I rock with my homies at the label who are my homies…but that executive level don’t fuck with your boy too heavy. And it’s good, it is what it is.”
Explaining the rift, Lupe said that his reluctance to sign a 360 deal after his sophomore album angered the label heads.
“I don’t have a 360 deal,” he said. “Since they can’t eat off my merchandise or my publishing or my touring they treat me like a third-class citizen up there. I paid the price for that.
“I got my deal in like 2005, so that was when they were still trying to make that thing happen,” he went on. “By the time I got to my second album, The Cool, they really had it in place. I didn’t want to have to do it. They tried to negotiate it with me, it’s just, the money wasn’t right. It just wasn’t right. And we were like, ‘Nah.’ Then they were like, ‘Well, if you don’t sign this 360 deal we can’t guarantee we’re gonna promote your records.’ I was like above a Wiz Khalifa or B.O.B., like, ‘You gon’ be down in the basement.’ It’s like, ‘Alright.’ We just roll with it. Then we come with the hits, we come with our Grammy nominations. We still keep it going in the midst of that.”
With Torae suggesting that his loyal fan base has helped his longevity, Fiasco agreed and outlined his relationship with the audience.
“It’s a gift and a gift,” he said of audience loyalty. “And then it could be a curse ‘cause you gotta stay true to it and you gotta keep your fans inline at the same time and let’em know too, ‘I’m a real person just like you’re a real person. We can politic and have fun, you can come backstage, I’m not tripping. But, you know, I’m not your toy either. You just can’t talk to me anyway or tell me anything.’ We real people. With that said, [I have] the most amazing fan base in the world, supports through thick and thin, talk their piece, which is cool. They get at me sometimes same way they get at the label. But it’s all love. I think these next two records, we’ve been kind of holding off on really going hard ‘cause we knew we didn’t have that support. Now, when we ain’t got no choice, every album after this is just going for heads. We’ll see.”
Promoting the website companion to his cancer awareness single “Mission,” Lupe described hopes to grow weareonamission.org into a foundation in the coming months and years.
“We gon’ be using that to launch a bunch of the platforms that we got going,” he said. “So we partnered up with Stand Up To Cancer, doing some stuff with Eff Cancer, a few other collabs that’s going to be pretty cool. Hopefully by the end of this we’ll have some type of foundation set up where if you from the hood and you wanna find out how you could involved with cancer research, support groups, in your hood for the people around you. Hopefully we’ll have those services set up in a few months or a year, however long it need to take.”
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