â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S THE COOL,â€ the chart-topping second album from 1st & 15th/Atlantic recording artist Lupe Fiasco, has been certified gold by the RIAA for sales exceeding 500,000. The critically acclaimed album â€“ which features the hit singles, â€œSuperstar (Feat. Matthew Santos)â€ and â€œHip-Hop Saved My Life (Feat. Nikki Jean)â€ â€“debuted on Billboardâ€™s â€œTop Rap Albumsâ€ chart at #1 upon its December 2007 release, and remained in the peak position for nine weeks.
In February, the Chicago-based MC earned his first-ever Grammy Award, bringing home the â€œBest Urban/Alternative Performanceâ€ trophy for last yearâ€™s smash, â€œDaydreaminâ€™ (Feat. Jill Scott).â€ The track is now being featured in AT&Tâ€™s national â€œCelebrate Springâ€ ad campaign.
â€œSuperstar (Feat. Matthew Santos),â€ the first single/video from â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S THE COOL,â€ is without doubt one of 2008â€™s foremost hits, maintaining its top 20 status on this weekâ€™s Billboard â€œHot 100.â€ The track is also a top 10 sensation on the â€œHot Rap Tracksâ€ ranking, while still standing strong on a variety of other charts, including â€œHot R&B/Hip-Hop Songsâ€ and â€œHot Digital Songs.â€ Whatâ€™s more, â€œSuperstarâ€ continues to score at radio, where it remains a top 20 favorite on both the CHR/Top 40 and Rhythmic airplay charts. The track is also drawing significant play at Urban outlets nationwide. The â€œSuperstarâ€ companion video â€“ directed by the great Hype Williams â€“ remains a hugely popular clip at all music video outlets, including MTV, BET, Fuse, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV TR3S, VH1 Soul, the N, and MUN2.
â€œHip-Hop Saved My Life (Feat. Nikki Jean),â€ the albumâ€™s latest single/video, is slated to impact at multi-format radio outlets across the country in late May. It has already been added into rotation at the biggest hip-hop radio station in the country, New York â€™s Hot 97. The trackâ€™s companion video â€“ directed by Dr. Teeth (T.I., Paul Wall, Mike Jones) â€“ is already in play across the MTV spectrum, including MTV2, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, mtvU, and FUSE. The clip, which features a cameo appearance from rap icon Bun B, is now in â€œUp To The RCâ€ rotation at BET, where Lupe recently made a stellar live appearance as part of the networkâ€™s annual Spring Bling coverage. â€œHip-Hop Saved My Liveâ€ is also a top 10 success at BETJ.
In addition to his recent performance on BET, Lupe has made a variety of high-profile TV appearances in recent months, performing live on CBSâ€™ Late Show with David Letterman, CBSâ€™ Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, ABCâ€™s Jimmy Kimmel Live, NBCâ€™s Last Call with Carson Daly, NBCâ€™s Tonight Show with Jay Leno, PBSâ€™ Tavis Smiley, MTVâ€™s TRL, and the syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Surely one of hip-hopâ€™s most electrifying and active live performers, Lupe is currently on a major North American tour, supporting his longtime friend and associate Kanye West on his blockbuster â€œGlow In The Dark Tour.â€ The trek is now lighting up arenas across the continent, with dates continuing through a June 13th finale at Cincinnati â€™s US Bank Arena (see attached itinerary). That very same day will see Lupe playing an additional set in Manchester , Tennessee at the Bonnaroo Music festival.
Full details of all upcoming shows can be found at Lupeâ€™s official MySpace page, www.myspace.com/lupefiasco. Lupe maintains a vibrant online presence, including his own LupeFiasco.com (recently updated with a wide range of interactive features such as â€œTHE COOLestâ€ video game). Also, Lupeâ€™s very own YouTube channel â€“ located at www.youtube.com/lupefiasco â€“ has logged millions of plays, with videos including â€œSuperstar,â€ â€œ Paris , Tokyo ,â€ and the banging street anthem, â€œDumb It Down.â€
Lupe Fiasco has quickly established himself as among the most compelling and creative artists of the era, offering a rare combination of complex, thought-provoking lyricism coupled with sure-fire beats. â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S THE COOLâ€ sees the critically acclaimed rapper following up on 2006â€™s breakthrough, Grammy-nominated debut, â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S FOOD & LIQUOR,â€ by kicking and pushing against the boundaries of modern hip-hip. Loosely structured as a multi-character concept album detailing the â€œdamaging influencesâ€ and â€œcorrupt allureâ€ of post-millennial Urban America, the set features such special guests as the one-and-only Snoop Dogg, with diverse and inventive production from Soundtrakk, UNKLE, Chris & Drop, and Fall Out Boyâ€™s Patrick Stump.
The MC first made himself known with his featured appearance on Kanye Westâ€™s hit single, â€œTouch The Sky,â€ followed by the anthemic hit single, â€œKick, Push.â€ As a result, â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S FOOD & LIQUORâ€ debuted on Billboardâ€™s â€œTop Rap Albumsâ€ chart at #1 upon its September 2006 release, while also entering the Billboard 200 at #8.
The 25-year-old rapper soon proved to be the yearâ€™s biggest hip-hop breakthrough, garnering a trio of 2006 Grammy Award nominations, including â€œBest Rap Album,â€ â€œBest Rap Song,â€ and â€œBest Rap Solo Performance.â€ Other honors include his being named one of Rolling Stoneâ€™s â€œ10 Artists To Watch 2006â€ as well as GQâ€™s 2006 â€œBreakout Man of the Year, â€œnot to mention an array of nominations from the BET Hip Hop Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, the mtvU Woodie Awards, and the Soul Train Music Awards.
â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S THE COOLâ€ drew instant critical acclaim upon its December release, coming in at #10 on Entertainment Weeklyâ€™s â€œThe Bestâ€ list for 2007 â€“ no mean feat considering the album was released with just two weeks left in the year. The album â€œrecalls (Kanye) Westâ€™s pop versatility and positive flair,â€ EW declared, adding â€œFiasco seems ready to join his former mentors in the big leagues.â€ The New York Times was equally effusive, calling â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S THE COOLâ€ â€œone of the yearâ€™s best hip-hop albums.â€ USA Today awarded the album four stars, praising it as â€œa 19-track gem that showcases (Fiascoâ€™s) intricate wordplay on everything from the rap industry and celebrity life to gun-toting youth and sexual violence.â€
Online outlets were also quick to commend the collection, with Pitchfork giving it an 8.1 rating, declaring it â€œsprawling, grandiose.â€ â€œLupe Fiasco is undoubtedly one of â€˜The Coolestâ€™ rappers to come along in the last ten years,â€ noted RapReviews.com in a 10-out-of-10 rave. HipHopDX.com rated â€œLUPE FIASCOâ€™S THE COOLâ€ 4.5-out-of-5 Xs, pointing out that the set â€œproves that â€˜FOOD & LIQUOR’ was no accident and itâ€™s quite possible that the best has yet to come.â€ â€œLupe demonstrates an innate virtuosity in his brainy approach to an often over simplified craft,â€ hailed AllHipHop.com in its 8-out-of-10 starred review, while Yo! Raps awarded the album 5-out-of-5 stars, explaining that it â€œhas pushed the genre of hip hop music into a place where no emcee or artist will be able to lead hip hop into for awhile.â€
Among Lupeâ€™s biggest fans are hip-hopâ€™s best and brightest stars, including Jay-Z, who told Blender that, â€œI love Lupe. Heâ€™s a genius writer.â€ Whatâ€™s more, the legendary Rakim â€“ without question one of rapâ€™s all-time greatest talents â€“ recently named Lupe as his favorite current MC, explaining that â€œthereâ€™s still a lot of artists and a lot of songs out there thatâ€™s good for you and still sound like that real hip-hop. The positive rap doesnâ€™t get as much coverage as the negative rap, but people (like Lupe Fiasco) are trying to get back around to the lyrical stuff.â€