The venue in Washington D.C. was fairly small. Background noise from the large crowd grew to a dull roar. Everyone was eagerly gathered to catch a glimpse of one of the biggest stars in the game. Anticipation for Food and Liquor II drew a diverse array of music lovers from the surrounding area. The event, hosted by Direct Drive Record Pool, had an undeniable feeling of exclusivity to it.
Lupe bounced in and out of the press room, trying to get a feel for the area. He deftly fielded some off the wall questions from a variety of media outlets, giving off the aura of someone who can’t be shook. This came the same day after he broke down in tears on national television, reflecting upon the loss of many of his lifetime friends from back in Chicago. Lupe maintained a cool, but supremely confident demeanor throughout.
We were given a blessing in disguise when Lupe moved into a smaller room deeper in the confines of the nightclub. Upon our arrival, we got the opportunity to sit down one on one with one of our generation’s greatest talents. We asked him a series of pointed questions, and he gave some interesting, candid answers. And of course, we laced him with one of our tanks. Read his thoughts below.
First of all, this outfit is crazy- where did you get these pants from?
US Alteration, I have a friend in Los Angeles. He makes these pants, shirts, all kinds of stuff. He’s really really good. He made this especially for me, but they do t-shirts, just lots of laid back kind of stuff. You should check ’em out.
If you could work with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Bob Marley, he was the man.
Who is your current favorite emcee?
Right now? Kendrick Lamar.
Is there any possibility of hearing some more music from Child Rebel Soldier, your group with Kanye and Pharrell?
I don’t think so. The experience was good, but we recorded the tracks separately from each other, so there wasn’t too much chemistry. We weren’t like in the studio hanging out. It was difficult to coordinate. It was cool though.
How would you compare Food and Liquor to Food and Liquor II?
Food and Liquor II is in stores September 25th by the way. I hesitate to compare the two, other than just the names. Know what I’m saying? There’s definitely a similar feel, in the way that they’re structured, but musically they’re very different. They don’t have too much in common. Some of the concepts are similar, but only in that they’re progressive social commentary, as opposed to being another album of the same character. You will see a “He Say, She Say Pt. II.”
How would you compare the process of making a mixtape, as compared to an album?
Man, when it comes to mixtapes…there’s no restriction with a mixtape, you don’t have to get anyone to sign off on it. There’s no expectation of people buying it, or radio playing it. It’s just raw creativity. With an album it’s different because you have all those things that you have to kind of cater to to and be concerned about. I probably enjoy mixtapes more. My whole career, I’ve been trying to get that feeling and that freedom that I had doing mixtapes when doing an album, but it’s never happened, because you go through that process. You have a little switch in your mind saying, it has to be this long. It has to have this. It will be on the radio, so I have to have a clean version. It’s going to the masses, so it can’t be as complex.
A manifesto is a declaration of intents and principles. What is your Artistic Manifesto?
To take the complex and make it simple, and hide a lot of complexity within these very simple things. That’s my guiding, creative principle. Plain and simple.