A week before a legion of Lupe Fiasco loyalists planned to descend on Atlantic Records in protest, the rapper finally reached an agreement with his label on a release date for his third album, Lasers.
The long-completed and long-awaited project from the Grammy-award winning rapper had been consigned to musical purgatory despite reassurances that it would be "coming soon." Those days of uncertainty were finally put to rest on Friday as a posting on Fiasco's official website blog spread the news saying, "Lupe Fiasco's much-anticipated new album "Lasers" hits stores and online Tuesday, March 8th 2011. The first single will premiere on Tuesday, October 26th right here on LupeFiasco.com first! #GenerationLasers you ready? Let's go!"
Fans greeted the announcement with much elation, though some bemoaned the five months of waiting they would still have to endure. Before that, backers of the rapper turned to activism in support of the album and seemingly have played a critical role in the hastening of a release date for Lasers. In a unique and bourgeoning grassroots musical movement, fans had taken to filing a petition in July demanding a release date for the album compiling over thirty-thousand signatures-including that of Lupe Fiasco himself-in the process.
Next came the concept for "Fiasco Friday." Protestors, wanting to ratchet up the pressure on Atlantic Records, were to take to the streets in a march and rally outside of Atlantic Records in New York as well as in the rapper's hometown of Chicago. Like the petition before it, Fiasco himself pledged to attend in solidarity.
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Village Voice recently conducted an interview with the teenager who helped plot the protest. In the exchange, 17-year old Matthew La Corte explained why he took the delay of Lasers personally, saying, "I think there's a lot of other things that rappers can be expressing, and the things that are on the radio are really do not reflect what this society is all about. And I think that's why there's so much push behind Lupe, because he's really much more than just a rapper from Chicago. He represents a generation, and a movement."
Now that Lasers has a March 8, 2011 release date, what becomes of "Fiasco Friday?" The Twitter account for the proposed action tweeted on Saturday that "#FiascoFriday is still happening! But it will no longer be a protest. It is now a celebration of our achievements! Plus, Lupe said last night at his concert that he is still coming!"
The blog for the Chicago protest notes that the fans also want to show Atlantic Records what will happen if Fiasco ever encounters similar problems with his label in attempting to release future albums required under contract.
After the victory celebrations, you have to wonder: What will the first single off Lasers be? Many tracks off the project have been leaked and Fiasco already self-financed a music video for "I'm Beamin'" this spring. Will it be something fresh and never heard before to keep the momentum going? Time will tell.