- Words By | Charles E. Singletary
- Pen Name | Profex
- Twitter | @Profexxion
I blame Mike Shinoda.
October 30th, 2005…..give or take a few days. Fort Minor (the hip hop side project of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda) collaborates with DJ Green Lantern and drops the unexpected and impressive We Major mixtape. I’d caught a scattering of Fort Minor tracks all over the web and enjoyed what I heard. There was no doubt in mind before downloading. I sat in silence as I enjoyed the ride from track to track, honestly awaiting a steep decline in the music quality that never came. Instead, six tracks in, I hear this:
Spraypaint & Inkpens / I use to write in every color I think in / To paint a picture with every rhyme that I speak in/ Yeah, the gallery is the beat then I…
My eyes went wide at the potential dopeness that was about to ensue. The tracklist had Ghostface, one of the dopest storytellers, leading the charge and I anticipated what Mike Shinoda could bring to the table. Third name. Lupe Fiasco? Wrote him off. Never heard of him and he’s probably just on the hook. Tony Stark slayed his verse in typical fashion, transporting us to a scene lyrically crafted. Shinoda followed up with an impressive story of his own. Then Lupe happened. Wasalu Jaco came through and delivered arguably the best verse on the tape altogether. I immediately dove into the internet crates and seeked out anything Lupe related I could find.
The journey since has been exciting if not extremely rocky. His debut album leaked. Snubbed on the Hottest MC list. Anti “leak” rant. Interscope blues. DL Hughley. Food & Liquor II: Part 1 companion to a canceled Part 2. It seems for every positive thing you can find for the artist, there’s a collective of negative tweets, emotional rants, and even horrible hooks (Heart Donor?) to be attached. Then…..ROTHKO happens.
Lupe Fiasco’s twitter was purged and put into a state of limbo last year following some terrible tweet tours featuring Chief Keef. Recently, though, a tweet appeared teasing a collaboration to be released on February 26th, the anniversary of painter Mark Rothko’s death. The interwebz went ablaze at the hint of a new Lupe track so soon after his recent album drop (soon by Lupe time at least). Imagine the surprise when said track was a 5 second audio clip featuring two muffled thumps and an accompanying article describing it as “art”. He ALSO proceeds to offer up said art along with a music video and personal live performance for 2.1 million euros in possibly the worst kickstarter attempt ever……
I watched as the tweets rolled in. I saw attempts at humor, some sloppy and some solid. I saw anger. I saw some come to the realization that defending Lupe is a waste of time (myself included). The antics made me think of a moment I had with my father a couple months before F&LII dropped. I pulled up the video of Lupe spitting the first verse from Food and Liquor II hoping my Dad would be as equally impressed as I was. My Dad had a firm hatred for today’s mainstream music, but had surprised me when I found a copy of The Cool in his car one day. He sat in silence as he took in the lyrics.
Once the video ended, he spoke words I’d blocked out until yesterday: “That was great, but hope he doesn’t turn into Kanye.”