Released: January 22, 2015

Represent intelligence I did it before
When I came through, sold out all the albums in the store
Shout to Joey Bada$$, that’s that, uh
Now we bout to backtrack
When I first started I was seventeen
Came up in the game, had a ring, had a chain, had some things
Shout to Chilly Chill man he showed me the game
Drove me around the city in the black, black Range
But now I’m back, at it attack
Had to do it again, and now we signed to Epic
But I ain’t never stretched I got robbed on my first deal
And that’s so real you wouldn’t even know it
That was about nineteen and I didn’t even show it
But I was the best rapper in the crew and they knew
Shout to [?] and shout to Butcher B
And shout to D-Low and [?]
Yea, yea, yea, and bring it back
We was raw dope records
Every single sector we was in, we would bless it
Howard home coming, I did that before
And they ain’t even know
Now, was we in this, or what were you doin’
I signed to Arista next and I was brewin’
Shout to L.A. Reid, did my thing on the page
But never planted the seed to turn into a stage
Yea, I was growin’ stage up
And when I got up on that joint, I was blowing stage up
Now, I’m back in the rage I said the stage twice
That’s cause I set the stage, so nice
You ain’t even catch it so I gotta bring it backwards again
On the stage I was attacking my friends
But I was attacking my foes, save no bitches and save no hoes
Sway, you know how it goes in these streets
How it goes in these beats, how I do it so sweet
How I do it so neat and I wrap it in a package
And I bow-tie that every time that I wrap it
I lost a little breath, this is real time rap
In real time, every time, I real rhyme that
Yes, yes, I will rhyme that
And they can’t do it like I do, they try to but
You know it’s blessings when you come through like this
Impressed like this and how I’m dressed like this
All black cause I’m mourning for my brother
I love Esco, they don’t even know, how much above you
I don’t place anything
I wed the game like a wedding ring
With a diamond set-it-ting
And you know I’m never settling
I rap burn things down like acetylene
I said this before, only wrestling with settling
I only settle if I wrestle with everything
And I mean it from the heart
From the time when I was in the park on the benches I was rapping
Snapping, trapping and doing my thing
Yea I did the street a lil bit, did the heat a lil bit
Did the beats a lot, and now I can’t stop
I dropped my fifth one, I feel so proud
I hope you blow it up while you smokin’ your loud
Or you sittin’ in your room in the basement and you cherish it
Uh, every rapper I embarrass with the flows and the structure
The beats, rhymes and rhythms
How I give ‘em, how I put it together in exorcisms
How it skz’s like a schism
Bring scissors how I cut through the rhythm and bring it back again
And again, and again
Shout to all my friends, shout to all my brothers, all my lovers
I love y’all
And shout to Young Thugga, you a good lil dude
I like the way you rap too
See, there’s blessings in this
It’s a message in this, it ain’t no testin’ in this
Now, let’s get back to the narrative I signed to Atlantic
And everything was good
Until Craig Kallman called WGCI and said “stop playin’ Kick, Push”
We was like “what the fuck?!”
Fuck are you doin? Tried to bring my crew down
Tried to ruin us
But you didn’t know what you was puttin’ into in us
Then Chill got locked up and everything stopped
I wanted to stop rapping, but I couldn’t
On the phone when I’m cryin’ like “I couldn’t”
But he was like “nah, you gotta carry on”
At least for me, your family, you gotta bury songs
That mean you gotta dead ‘em
Every time you got in the studio he put the Glock to ‘em and head ‘em “bang!”
Yea, doin’ my thing, shout to the gang
Shout to the man, it’s how I maintain living in the mainframe
Should I ever do this before, again, I dunno it’s the same
It’s a shame but sometimes you gotta get on that paper plane
And fly to the other side of the earth
And show you truly what’s your worth and your values
If they don’t know you gotta show ‘em how to
If they don’t understand then you gotta make ‘em over it
You gotta do it again, and again, and again, it’s over with

Lupe Fiasco

The Chicago born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco first tasted success when he featured on Kanye West’s hit “Touch the Sky”, a track that shortly preceded his real breakout, his 2006 debut album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, and he never looked back. He has established himself as one of the greatest urban wordsmiths of all time, with Genius even dubbing him the ‘Proust of Rap’.

While he’s now regarded of one of the 21st Century’s Hip-Hop greats, he wasn’t always a fan of the genre, initially disliking it due to the prominence of vulgarity and misogyny within it. In his late teens, he aspired to make it as a lyricist. In his early twenty’s, he met Jay-Z, who helped him sign with Atlantic Records in 2005. The following year, he released his debut album (Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor), which was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, as did his sophomore effort, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool.

The following eight years of his career saw far less output than many would’ve anticipated. This can be partly attributed to his struggles with Atlantic Records. The executives wanted him to sign a 360 deal; however, as he refused to do so they instead shelved his already completed 3rd album, Lasers, and wouldn’t promote him as they had previously. The overseers at the label also interfered with his music (as they had tried to do with his fan-favorite track “Dumb it Down”); subsequently effecting the quality and sound of his third and fourth albums.