Lupe Fiasco says that he has no desire to be relevant in this day and age, and also explains the concept of "Deliver."
Recently Lupe Fiasco logged off twitter once and for all (or at least, for now), citing that he wanted to "go back to the shadows." With his new album Tetsuo & Youth arriving any day now, Billboard has posted a new interview with the rapper where he echoes the same sentiments from his final twitter farewell.
Lupe admits that he is not as relevant as he once was, but also says that he does not "want to be relevant today." He also delves into his lead single "Deliver," and the recent arrest of Bobby Shmurda. Read a few excerpts below.
On "Tetsuo & Youth" and not wanting to be relevant:
Not really. It's an interesting album because it's a transition. I'm much more mature in my representation in public, in the sense of I'm not as relevant as I was before. It's kind of that natural irrelevancy that occurs with all artists. I think I had my peak and now I am coming down in relevancy. It's not a sad thing for me.
I don't want to be relevant today. I don't want to be the go-to guy for the club song or to speak on all the dumb shit that's going around. I'm happy being that somewhat sophisticated, overly deep weird guy making powerful music -- but just two or three degrees away from the center of attention. There is a new generation speaking to a new generation, so you have a Kendrick Lamar and a J. Cole and the other people who are the new Lupes. I don't have the same lingo. I don't sip lean or smoke weed. I can't compete with a Wiz Khalifa for the attention of a 12-year old.
I paint a lot -- probably too much. I paint more than I write raps. It's the same creative thing for me. I started painting two years ago, and I gave myself 10 years to really get good. I'll sit and paint for 11 hours and get lost in it, the technique of it, trying to execute it clean, colors and palettes, etc. Van Gogh said he wasn't happy unless he was painting, and I'm starting to realize that's becoming true for me. If I'm not in a creative mode and I'm dealing with the outside world, I'm not really happy.
On Bobby Shmurda being charged with conspiracy to commit murder:
What does it say about America that simultaneously you have the junior Ryder Cup team of America, the golf team, on TV doing the Shmoney Dance, and then you have Eric Garner on the other side? And when you listen to the lyrics [of "Hot Boy"] it's like, "I shot n---as." It's not an act if you look at the accusations [against Shmurda]. People were dancing to and celebrating a certain reality.
A song like "Deliver" is the autobiography of a myth in the hood. You don't really recognize it until you are there. The hood doesn't really have the basic amenities that things that aren't the hood has. The pizza man might have two or three thoughts before he comes to your neighborhood. The pizza man might pull up, see your building and then keep driving. It's almost like a myth. Does that really happen? Does the pizza man really not come to the hood? In some cases it's true. In some places it's probably more of a story. One of the interesting things when we put the record out was that people were posting news stories about pizza men getting killed. There are some very serious reasons as to why. But it also speaks to the nature of those places like the places I grew up in, West Side of Chicago, South Side of Chicago. It's things like that, that are those odd aspects of the hood that don't really get a lot of attention like all drug dealers. But they have effects too.
As an artist, me doing music, or any artist, you do it for so long, you start to become -- I won't call myself a master but you become very proficient in being able to structure things in subtle but powerful ways. Take a song like "Deliver" and the pizza man. It's kind of also saying 'peace of man' like 'peace of man don't come here no more.' Once you look at it from that perspective, it changes the dynamic of the song. We kind of did something like that on "He Said, She Said," which was about the single mother and single parent talking to this father and they used the exact same verse but kind of switched the pronouns around, but it was the exact same thing but it came from two different sources. It's almost like the inverse of four, five albums later, you learn that switching out one word changes the dynamic of the entire song, and pizza becomes a metaphor for something else and the words become double entendre and even triple entendre. From an artistic level of learning how to work with words and understanding words, "Deliver" is like the most prominent example because that's the record that's out now, but when you get into the rest of the body of the album, it's even deeper. It's taken to extremes on certain songs where it kind of takes 10, 15, 20 listens to really pick up on what the song is saying. That's why you get songs like "Deliver" first. "Deliver" is, like, the simplest song on the album. It's somewhat of a straight narrative. There are songs on the album that have five narratives at the same time.
Read the full interview with Billboard here.