Lupe Fiasco sat down with CNN for an interview to speak on his new album “Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1.”
The rapper speaks on Barack Obama, the content of his records, Pete Rock, FEMA and Troy Davis.
You can read excerpts below.
Those who know him only through headlines and sound bites may be more familiar with his Occupy Wall Street participation or his occasional inflammatory remark — such as when he called the president “the biggest terrorist” last year.
Asked to elaborate, Lupe said there was a lot of backlash to his comment — especially from a hip-hop community that generally stands behind the country’s first black president — but his barb was more directed at the Oval Office rather than any particular man who has occupied it.
“I think that American presidentssss,” he said, hissing to emphasize the plural, “that position in itself, as well as American foreign policy, it has terrorism in it. CIA agents going to overthrow certain governments — they’re using terrorist tactics. They’re not going in there like, ‘Hey, you wanna have some cake?’ “
Despite the grand stands, Lupe says he’s actually apolitical. He doesn’t vote. He doesn’t associate with labels such as left, right or independent. They’ve all got good ideas, as well as terrible ones, he said.
“I don’t have that knee-jerk, shoot from the hip, immediate gratification, everything-is-right-just-because-we’re-the-same-color-or-because-we-come-from-the-same-background-or-we-share-the-same-political-affiliation, if that’s what you want to call it,” he said. “Even independent gets bottled up with all these different things, swing voters. I’m outside of the process. I’m a subversive is what I am. I’m a stone-cold subversive.”
In an interview with MTV’s Sway Calloway two weeks ago, Lupe let his soft side show when Calloway showed him a 2000 video of Lupe skateboarding in his old Chicago neighborhood. The “Kick, Push” author responded by doing something unthinkable for a rap star: He cried.
He had a hard time composing himself when Calloway asked him to explain the tears. He told CNN a week later that he began skating to escape life’s realities on Chicago’s west side; seeing the video, which included images of friends who have since been killed, was too much to take.
“Faced with the way the system does you in the ‘hood sometimes, if you don’t literally get out,” he explained, “your chances are slim. You’ll definitely die mentally. You’ll pretty much die physically. Your freedom can be taken from you in an instant, branded for life as a criminal, and to see those children and to see all of it mixed together, it was like, ‘Yo, I can’t.’ It’s heartbreaking.”