Critically acclaimed and Grammy-award winning rapper Lupe Fiasco awoke today to growing fan support demanding a release date from Atlantic Records for his completed album "Lasers."
The album, whose title is a backronym for "Love Always Shines, Everyone Remember 2 Smile," was finished and turned in long ago with assurances from the hip-hop artist that it would be coming soon. Now heading into summer, rising discontent over the label's banishment to purgatory of the third offering from Fiasco has taken the form of a "We Want Lasers" petition.
On behalf of the undersigned--who are growing by the thousands--it reads:
"Dear Atlantic Records,
The fans...below have been waiting for the release for Lupe Fiasco's album "Lasers" for over a good year now. Since when it was originally announced finished last summer, there has still yet to be a release date announced. It has even been stated by Lupe Fiasco the artist himself, that the album is in fact completed. Enough is enough, we demand that you stop playing around and give us the album that we have been highly anticipating since the release of The Cool."
The positive affirmation differed greatly from a more frustrated twitter update early this month that read, "Lasers is out of my hands guys and gals...it's done and that's all I can tell you...when they drop it...they drop it...so drop it..."
The completed but not yet released album follows the rapper's two previous major label efforts, The Cool, and Food & Liquor. Fiasco received substantial radio play for his single "Superstar" featuring Matthew Santos off The Cool.
A music video for "I'm Beamin," the album's purported first single, produced by reputable beat makers The Neptunes, was released in late April this year after it was leaked online (along with other songs offLasers
Without knowing when the album will drop, however, radio stations and video music channels have been hesitant to put the song into any kind of rotation. Why Atlantic Records has yet to announce a release date is unclear; Lasers, which imposes a red "Circle A" of the anarchist political philosophy over the "o" in "Losers," is sure to be received with praise.
"I'm Beamin" takes a beat aimed at casual mainstream listeners and exposes them to the rapper's provocative poetry. As with many other songs in Fiasco's catalogue, "I'm Beamin" attempts to cast off nihilistic themes all too present on hip-hop radio playlists in favor of a politicized self-esteem.
He encourages young kids to leave their neighborhoods to see the world, and come back with lessons learned. He beseeches women to look to Maya Angelou and Sojourner Truth for inspiration. The symbolic promotion of the "Circle A" on Lasers and the video for "I'm Beamin" has fueled speculation as to whether the rapper is an anarchist or not.
Fiasco does indeed come from a politicized family--his father was involved with the Black Panthers, and his mother has been described as "damn near anarchist."
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He participated in the late People's Historian Howard Zinn's final film project, The People Speak," and rapped an acoustic version of "American Terrorist." A promotional video aimed to build hype for the embattled album also declared a fourteen-point L.A.S.E.R.S. Manifesto that called for, among other, more explicit political demands, "substance in the place of popularity, an end to the glamorization of negativity in the media, and an end to status symbols dictating our worth as individuals."
Fiasco's lyrical talent coupled with the alluring sonic landscapes of the album make him a compelling bell hooks-style social commentator--one whose latest venture has yet to be fully unleashed onto the public. The delay of this undeniably socially conscious album has politicized fans to the point of organizing a petition, and the longer Atlantic Records waits to release Lasers, the more likely people are to speculate that the impasse has more nefarious motives.
Such accusations are already present in the adjoining comments section of petition signatures. In the meantime, hip-hop heads are being asked to endure heavy rotation of Drake's music on the radio...now where do I sign again?