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Lupe Fiasco Q&A

The Four Elements: Food, Liquor, Skateboarding and Rap

After years of working the backline of the music industry, 24-year old Chicago native Lupe Fiasco has kicked and pushed his way to the forefront following the widespread success of “Kick, Push” a love song about skateboarding. The rapper returns to San Francisco Aug. 3rd for a performance at the Independent. His Atlantic Records debut, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Beer is set to hit stores later in the month.

Lupe spoke with SF Station while close shopping in New York the night before he filmed his latest music video “Daydreaming.”

SF Station (SFS): Do you skateboard?

Lupe Fiasco (LP): Yeah, I skate.

SFS: Street or vert (ramps)?

LP: Street, I don’t believe in vert ramps. It’s against my religion.

SFS: Do you need security guards when you go out now?

LP: Naw, I’m not at that level. I think I will be at that level with hysteric (fans), but I’m not really the type of guy that needs a lot of protection or security. It can be crazy, because sometimes I’ll walk up on kids and they’ll be like, “Yo Lupe, what are you doing here by yourself?” I don’t really carry myself like I’m flamboyant. I’m real low-key.

SFS: “Kick Push” sounds like an underground hip-hop track, but it’s been getting a lot of airplay on urban radio, which usually has more street and club songs. Did you expect that track to go that far?

LP: I don’t know. We understood what it was and what it could be, and it’s potential. But, I don’t think we knew it would go this far. It’s been out for a year and it’s still strong. That’s crazy.

We didn’t think it would have that much of an impact. It also has a social impact. It’s more than just a song. It has traveling outside of music and is having an impact on certain aspects of peoples’ lifestyles. To have that kind of power this early is crazy.

SFS: What kind of social impact has the song had?

LP: Another MC from Harlem walked up to me the other day and said he saw a kid rolling down the street in Harlem on a skateboard. He said he had never seen that before in Harlem. The song has gotten kids who probably would have never thought about skateboarding on a skateboard in parts of town where skateboarding has never happened before. It kind of changes the makeup of the social structure a little bit when you bring in elements of pop culture and “white successful” culture into the mix.

SFS: You’ve done some work with Kanye West. Do you think his album College Dropout and his style helped open the door for skateboarding in Harlem and other similar trends?

LP: It kind of set the tone for a little more open-minded thinking and stuff like that to be accepted a little bit more, but I don’t know if you can relate it to skateboard culture coming in. I think Pharrell, if anybody, can take credit for bringing it out and making it cool. I definitely think that me, Pharrell and Kanye have changed it up a little bit and made it a little bit more stylish.

Lupe Fiasco performs at the Independent Aug. 3
Doors, 8:30pm; Show, 9pm
Tickets $20