Lupe Fiasco, whose real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, was born in Chicago, Illinois in what Fiasco describes as extremely destitute conditions.1
Both of Lupe’s parents are Muslim and Lupe himself strongly identifies with his religious roots, though with some caveats. He says:
I don’t like putting my religion out there, I don’t like wearing it like that because I don’t want people looking at me as the poster child of Islam, because I’m not. I don’t want them to look at my flaws [and say], ‘oh, that’s the flaws of Islam.2
Lupe is also very concerned with the militant Muslims of the Middle East and Africa, some of which, he says, have pushed moderate Israelis to the breaking point and are only encouraging a war between these two groups. Others, he worries, are using their faith to commit genocide in, for example, Darfur. He admits to the irrationality of religion and its tendencies toward fundamentalism and violence, saying:
Religion is very irrational. It’s built on nonsense – faith is not a sense, so it’s no sense. But now [they'll say], ‘Ah! He’s a heretic! He’s saying religions are based on nonsense! But he’s Muslim so we can’t kill him. But maybe we can, because he wasn’t being Muslim because he was talking against [Muslims].3
It would appear that Lupe’s faith is of the rare rational variety.
Seriously outside the box politics
Fiasco doesn’t involve himself, formally at least, in American politics. He doesn’t vote because he thinks it’s a pointless exercise.4 To his critics, he says:
People say, ‘If you don’t vote, then you don’t have a right to say anything.’ But nine times outta 10, I pay more taxes than they do – so even if I don’t vote, I still have the right to speak out. Their taxes maybe pay for a box of bullets; mine pay for a smart bomb – or at least the guidance system.3
Fiasco also called Obama a terrorist, saying that the real terrorist organization is the U.S., whose foreign policies create environments and resentment that inspires terrorism.4 He believes all power structures should be questioned, even if the questioner agrees with them.5
Almost any rationally-thinking American, even if they don’t admit it, will probably realize the truth in Lupe’s words. He makes salient points about the cycles of violence and taxpayer-funded violence. And impressively, he has no fear about voicing these views. He is a fearless critic and that is worthy of salutation.
- Lupe Fiasco: rapping outside the box. Ebony. [↩]
- Lupe Fiasco and Sway: Talk about Islam. Youtube. [↩]
- Lupe Fiasco: ‘I have the right to speak out.’ The Guardian. [↩] [↩]
- Lupe Fiasco Calls Obama a “Terrorist.” NBC Chicago. [↩] [↩]
- Lupe Fiasco raps about Gaza, discusses Obama and the War on Terror on the Colbert Report. Mondoweiss. [↩] [↩]