LUPE FIASCO IS “THE COOL”-EST SUPERSTAR IN HIP-HOP TODAY; GRAMMY-NOMINATED RAPPER’S SOPHOMORE ALBUM DEBUTS AT #1 ON BILLBOARD’S “TOP RAP ALBUMS” CHART, WHILE SCORING ACROSS-THE-BOARD CRITICAL PRAISE; CHICAGO MC IS FIRST MUSICAL GUEST ON LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN’S RETURN TO THE AIR; MAJOR CROSS-COUNTRY TOUR TO BEGIN NEXT WEEK
1st & 15th/Atlantic recording artist Lupe Fiasco is making waves from coast to coast with his just-released second album, “LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL.” Highlighted by the hit single/video, “Superstar (Feat. Matthew Santos),” the hugely anticipated collection debuted on Billboard’s “Top Rap Albums” chart at #1, remaining in the pinnacle position for what is now three consecutive weeks.
“LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL” has drawn instant critical acclaim, coming in at #10 on Entertainment Weekly’s “The Best” list for 2007 – no mean feat considering the album was released with just two weeks left in the year. The album “recalls (Kanye) West’s pop versatility and positive flair,” EW declared, adding “Fiasco seems ready to join his former mentors in the big leagues.” The New York Times was equally effusive, calling “LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL” “one of the year’s best hip-hop albums.” USA Today awarded the album four stars, praising it as “a 19-track gem that showcases (Fiasco’s) intricate wordplay on everything from the rap industry and celebrity life to gun-toting youth and sexual violence.”
Online outlets were also quick to commend the collection, with Pitchfork giving it an 8.1 rating, declaring it “sprawling, grandiose.” “Lupe Fiasco is undoubtedly one of ‘The Coolest’ rappers to come along in the last ten years,” noted RapReviews.com in a 10-out-of-10 rave. HipHopDX.com rated “LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL” 4.5-out-of-5 Xs, pointing out that the set “proves that ‘FOOD & LIQUOR” was no accident and it’s quite possible that the best has yet to come.” “Lupe demonstrates an innate virtuosity in his brainy approach to an often over simplified craft,” 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 “has 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.”
“Superstar (Feat. Matthew Santos)” is now poised to explode onto the radio airplay charts, with Rhythmic outlets nationwide giving the track its biggest weekly increase to date. In addition, the listeners at New York’s hugely influential Hot 97 have been showing the single big love, while the station’s programming staff was blown away by Lupe’s recent sold-out show at The Fillmore NY @ Irving Plaza. Along with the fantastic response in NYC, “Superstar” is picking up strong momentum in some of the country’s biggest major markets, including Los Angeles, Miami, Tampa, Hartford, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Hartford, Philly, Las Vegas, and San Diego.
The Chicago-based MC – who recently scored a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Urban Alternative Performance,” honoring last year’s hit single, “Daydreamin’ (Feat. Jill Scott)” – introduced “Superstar” to millions of new fans last week, performing as the musical guest on the return-to-the-air episode of CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman.
Next month, Lupe will be the subject of the first February installment of MTV’s 52 Bands, a special feature segment that highlights one new artist per week, throughout the year. Furthermore, the “Superstar” companion video – directed by the great Hype Williams – was MTV2’s #2 most spun clip over the holiday week, while scoring additional play at MTV, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, and VH1 Soul. “Superstar” is also in “Large” rotation on BET’s Rap City, as well as in “Medium” rotation on the network’s overall playlist.
Unquestionably among hip-hop’s most electrifying and active live performers, Lupe celebrated the December release of “LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL” with a special “MySpace Presents The Release” concert at Honolulu, Hawaii’s Pipeline Café – Lupe’s first-ever Hawaiian live date. A full-scale US tour is set to take off on January 10th at Portland, Oregon’s Roseland Theater, with dates continuing through the end of the month (see attached itinerary). A majority of the shows – including those in Seattle, San Francisco, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington DC, and New York City – are already sold out, but a further slate of North American concerts will be announced shortly.
In addition to his performance itinerary, a series of in-store appearances are also scheduled in such cities as Portland, San Francisco, Encinitas, Las Vegas, Denver, Austin, and Dallas – full details can be found at Lupe’s official MySpace page, www.myspace.com/lupefiasco. One of MySpace’s top 5 current artists, Lupe maintains a vibrant online presence, including his own LupeFiasco.com (recently updated with a wide range of interactive features such as “THE COOLest” video game). Also, Lupe’s very own YouTube channel – located at www.youtube.com/lupefiasco – has logged over one million plays, with videos including “Superstar” and the banging street anthem, “Dumb It Down.”
An array of high-profile mobile initiatives also heralded the new album’s arrival, including early drops of “LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL” on Verizon and Sprint, as well as feature slots in all major off-deck and on-deck ringtone stores. A special Boost program – featuring a can’t-miss-it standup of Lupe – is now in effect at over 8,000 retailers nationwide.
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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. “LUPE FIASCO’S THE COOL” sees the critically acclaimed rapper following up on 2006’s breakthrough debut, “LUPE FIASCO’S FOOD & LIQUOR,” by kicking and pushing against the boundaries of modern hip-hop. Loosely structured as a multi-character concept album detailing the “damaging influences’ and ‘corrupt allure” 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 Boy’s Patrick Stump.
The MC first made himself known with his featured appearance on Kanye West’s hit single, “Touch The Sky,” followed by the anthemic hit single, “Kick, Push.” As a result, “LUPE FIASCO’S FOOD & LIQUOR” debuted on Billboard’s “Top Rap Albums” 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 year’s biggest hip-hop breakthrough, garnering a trio of 2006 Grammy Award nominations, including “Best Rap Album,” “Best Rap Song,” and “Best Rap Solo Performance.” Other honors include his being named one of Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists To Watch 2006” as well as GQ’s 2006 “Breakout Man of the Year, “not 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.
Among Lupe’s biggest fans are hip-hop’s best and brightest stars, including Jay-Z, who told Blender, “I love Lupe. He’s a genius writer.” What’s more, the legendary Rakim – without question one of rap’s all-time greatest talents – recently named Lupe as his favorite current MC, explaining that “there’s still a lot of artists and a lot of songs out there that’s good for you and still sound like that real hip-hop. The positive rap doesn’t get as much coverage as the negative rap, but people (like Lupe Fiasco) are trying to get back around to the lyrical stuff.”
(TOUR ITINERARY ATTACHED)
On Tour 2008
10 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
11 Seattle, WA Showbox at the Market
13 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
14 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
15 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern
17 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues
18 Las Vegas, CA House of Blues
19 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre
20 Denver, CO Gothic Theatre
22 Austin, TX Emo’s
23 Dallas, TX House of Blues
25 Atlanta, GA The Roxy
27 Baltimore, MD Sonar
28 Norfolk, VA The Norva
30 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
31 Philadelphia, PA The Fillmore at TLA
1 Richmond, VA Stuart C. Seigel Center
2 New York, NY Nokia Theatre
1 New Haven, CT Yale University
25 Fredricksburg, VA Great Hall