Lupe Fiasco is one of the game’s most adept and profound lyricists of the 2000s. Throughout his career, the 1st and 15th capo has consistently delivered bonafide ear candy to rap listeners. Sharp-witted sixteens mixed with mind-boggling and heartfelt content resulted in loyal Lupe fans, even through his #SMH Laser (Atlantic, 2011) days. So it’s no surprise the Chi-Town rapper is reppin’ his day-ones with the Tour For The Fans concert.
On Friday night (Feb. 5) New Yorkers and die-hard Lupe supporters, who many of were decked out in Supreme sweaters, skinny jeans and Vans footwear, packed out Manhattan’s BB Kings venue, which was moved from the smaller Highline Ballroom, to catch a glimpse of Lupe’s passion-filled stage presence and performance.
The lyrical monsta’ wasted no time in exercising the powers of his fervent-filled persona. The rapper born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco first thanked his fans for coming out before spazzing through the front half of Tetsuo & Youth (Atlantic, 2015), but the real treat came with his performance of the lyrically acrobatic “Mural.”
To see Lupe roll through top-notch bars for nearly nine minutes was breathtaking, perplexing, and awed fans. It takes serious breath control, and a sharp mind to remember such complex raps on one song. But as we all know, Lupe is a sharp and complex individual, which is why he made it look easy.
However, some fans did mumble amongst their inner circle that they wished Lupe would’ve first dived into his classics as opposed to his newer cuts from his fifth studio album, T&Y. Nevertheless, “Dots and Lines” and “Prisoner 1 & 2” held the antsy concertgoers attention as the cornrowed rapper warmed up for the night.
After the halfway mark, and Lupe’s adoration for his supporters and the culture continued to fill the stuffy venue, the Westside Chi-City native delivered heartfelt hits “Kick, Push,” “Hurt Me Soul,” and “Daydreaming.” The overwhelming feeling to bulldoze over life’s ills upon hearing these songs live was aggravated and Lupe’s vigorous stage presence. A sweaty, slim, yet very in shape, Lupe bounced around stage like a nimble point guard on the hardwood tightly clutching the mic as if he didn’t want to let loose of the love connection between his fans and music. And it came off as organic, which only fueled concertgoers appreciation of Lupe.
As the night came to a close, Lupe spilled through “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now,” which came just before announcing that he’ll be saying his goodbye to the hip-hop game after releasing his final albums Drogas, Skulls and Roy in 2016, and his final album, The Cool 2 in 2017.
Overall, Lupe’s energetic and passion on stage matches the same explosive and fieriness behavior that he displays on his Twitter rants. After seeing Lupe’s performance, it makes one appreciate his voice, and thought-provoking — and important content all the more.
Lupe really cares about hip-hop, his art and the important issues that he discusses. And it hurts him when fans, critics, and hip-hop contemporaries don’t seem as passionate as he is about this culture. So to deal with this, Lupe leaves his life on the mic, or in this case, he left it all on the stage.