Lupe Fiasco's career has had been through many phases. The rapper started out as a nerdy outsider with a skateboard, later developing into a more dynamic conscious rapper, before putting out crossover album, and then bouncing back by diving headfirst into protest music and conspiracy theories. His next move was anyone's guess, and now-- after a few false starts --it seems as Lupe's upcoming record Tetsuo & Youth finally has a direction.

Fiasco's newest single, "Mission" is that direction. Not as preachy as "Bitch Bad", but certainly a message-driven record. The song's intention is to raise awareness and support for cancer research, and in a new interview with NBC, Lupe shared the personal inspiration for the song. 

“My grandmother passed away from cancer, but it was very sudden,” he 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."

When asked whether he'd "abandoned" political commentary altogether on the album, Lupe replied, “I won’t say abandoned. Just kinda took a break,” continuing, "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.”

Watch the full interview below.