Grammy nominated Lupe Fiasco is famous for socially conscious rhymes, and being a vocal societal critic. But, Sunday, at a pre-inauguration celebration, the lyricist was like rocks in the socks of people sprinting off to Obama-land.
He performed his hit “Words I Never Said.” The song, with its heavy political messaging, turned into a half-hour onstage stay that culminated in the rapper being escorted offstage.
In the song Lupe spits, “Limbaugh is a racist/ Glenn Beck is a racist/Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say sh*t.”
He continues. “That’s why I ain’t vote for him/ next one either/I’m a part of the problem/ my problem is I’m peaceful/And I believe in the people.” In the song he also digs at pharmaceutical companies, the media and subpar school systems.
However, it’s as if the conscious superstar didn’t have a mentor, loved one or homie to tell him that the medium can one-up the message. When celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama, why come to his party and show out? Time and place affect how people respond to and relate with messages.
Fiasco maximized the opportunity to go viral with his assessment of the president. And frankly, many would argue that there’s truth in what he said. Many of today’s pundits do present racial and oppressive ideas. President Obama has sometimes shied away from taking a solid stance with international and domestic issues.
Even so, the Lupe thing is more basic than that. What about giving people their time to shine, and knowing one’s critique will be just as valid in a week or two? It is akin to penning December stories about parents playing Santa with magazine headlines that read “He’s Not Real! Saint Nicholas and Other Lies!”
The jolly bearded gift giver might not exist; but, in a moment like that, a believer’s joy could also cease. Sometimes it is ok to step outside of a hypercritical lens and enjoy a moment. An inability or unwillingness to do so could prove harmful.
In some circles, when someone takes a lighthearted issue or fun time and analyzes it with such precision that smiles wilt and things get awkward, it is called “Lupeing.” Did the artist want to become that guy?
Perhaps the message was an exercise in bravery. Sound social critiques can be hard to come by. Other household names put forward messages about sex, drugs and hype or enough money to get one’s fill of all three. So, his move was provocative, predictable and indicative of playing by his own rules.
So, event-planners. Which Google guru thought Fiasco would behave?