Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Lupe Fiasco gave his hometown fans quite a treat as the Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour hit its halfway point at the House of Blues. I was in attendance with much of our team, so allow for a quick reflection of my highlights of the night, mixed in with all of our amazing visuals above and below (previously seen on our social channels... more reason to follow us for the exclusives first ;)).
- First and foremost, Lupe kept it all the way Chicago. He said to the crowd that it was the one city he was waiting to get to since the tour started.
- Lupe brought out Lil Durk for the first song, then set the tone with a max. energy performance of "ITAL (Roses)" and "Put 'Em Up" — two standouts from Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album.
- Lupe dedicated "Kick, Push" to the recently injured Derrick Rose for perhaps the biggest crowd eruption of the night.
- Actually, it wasn't. Lupe prefaced a performance of "Go Go Gadget Flow" with a command to get the House of Blues rockin'. Cam Be and myself were in the crowd and on the floor, so trust when we can say that the House of Blues floor was indeed rocking. I've never felt that before at the HoB — the floor was literally shaking. I have a feeling "Go Go Gadget Flow" was a Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour exclusive to Chicago.
- Lupe also took it back even further to his guest verse on Kanye's "Touch The Sky". He replaced "Sky high, I'm, I'm sky high!" with "I'm so Chi!" in the outro.
- A bonus freestyle from Lu after his rendition of a "personal favorite" — his feature on Robert Glasper's "Always Shine" — was one to remember.
- And the Tetsuo & Youth preview tracks all sounded great: "Crack" is very different, and "Drizzy's Law" is now my most anticipated. Lu's got some slick lines on this and Poo Bear delivers another ear-grabbing chorus.
- Lupe wasn't the only one to impress on stage... the undercard was quite impressive from beginning to end too. Stalley brought out Rockie Fresh for the hometown, Dee-1 reeled in the audience and got some great response for starting the show first, and The Boy Illinois' biggest hometown show to date was a success, flanked by his F.A. The Squad members TreStyle and Relelite. In fact, I was most impressed with the polish of Illi's stage presence and song selection of all the openers. We were in the photo pit for his performance and the whole first row became fans in a matter of minutes.
- The long wait for our car at Marina Towers after the show.
- Otherwise none, that was a great night.
After all, it was refreshing to see a full concert from Lupe after what's felt like 2-3 years in Chicago (he's done guest appearances at certain events in between). For the long-time diehards, there was the perfect balance of throwbacks, F&L2 cuts we haven't seen live yet, and completely new songs that were brilliantly spliced one after another to create and sustain a mood for just the right amount of time before moving onto the next. For the first-time concert-goers, like that of our photographers Cam Be & Who Dough who've only seen Lupe live in non-tour forms, they were floored at his high-octane energy and ability to spit word for word just like on the CD.
It was such a memorable show that after over a week of reflection, I'm still able to feel the feelings of the details described above as I sit and type this tonight. And it all comes back to the personal, hometown feel that Lupe ensured was in us from the moment he stepped in front of the moving spotlights and giant video screen. *cues up* "Superstar" to hold us over for Tetsuo & Youth in 2014.
There are a few dates left on the tour this month, including NYC's Irving Plaza Monday and Tuesday night — lupefiasco.com/tour — get out there if you can, one of the best shows I've been to in 2013, easy.
New Orleans native Dee-1 was recently signed to a record deal with RCA records. The rapper seems to have a very bright future in front of him as he is currently on tour with legend Lupe Fiasco. Dee-1 gave us some time to talk about his new mix tape Psalms of David II (POD2) the future of his career and what is in store for his fans. At a time when free will is so glorified in hip hop, Dee-1's Christian take on popular issues are brave and refreshing, not to mention the man spits hot fire.
Thought this was dope. #Salute to New Orleans rapper, Dee-1, who just signed a deal with RCA Records. And as a backstory to the letter below, Dee mentored and taught math at Baker Middle School after he finished college in 2008. This letter is addressed to them, and a motivating one for us all.
This is specifically for all the students I ever taught math, life skills, or study skills to at Baker Middle School. This is for any student I ever tutored, mentored, or held a conversation with in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, or over the phone. This is for any kid who I ever coached in basketball. When I walked away from my job as a teacher it was a tough decision, but once I did it, I wanted to make sure I made it because I knew I could represent and symbolize something we rarely see where we come from. Well…
Mr Augustine made it. I just signed a major-label record deal with RCA.
Remember when I’d be in class with my mixtapes or talking about the show I had just done, or rapping to yall (sometimes lol)? Remember me spitting 16 bars to my 4th period class when yall didn’t even believe I was a real rapper, and afterwards yall started screaming so loud that Ms. Moses came running in asking if someone was fighting? Remember me saying that I don’t curse in my music but that I refused to change or compromise just to try to “get on?”
Well I’m on. And I still don’t curse, lol.
My dream came true. Yours can too. But 1st you have to have a dream. Find something you love, something you can become great at, something you’re willing to do for free, just because you love it so much. Something your mom can be proud of and say “Ooohhh yall look at my baby!! He/she is doing soooo well.” Then do it. Focus on getting better and remaining positive. GRIND!!! No wait, my bad….. SHUT UP AND GRIND!!! #SUAG is the new SWAG. Yep, I love all yall. I want to see yall WIN! Let my success serve as MOTIVATION…
The funny part I’m learning about dreams is that by the time you achieve one, you’ve already started dreaming bigger dreams. So keep going. Don’t stop. #MissionVision
Dee-1, fresh off his new major label signing to RCA, drops a preview of his next project Psalms of David II, dropping on the 19th, with this Mannie Fresh-produced "I'll Pay For It". You'll notice the stripper on the cover, but don't rush to judgment. The song is actually Dee-1 rapping to the stripper not for a dance, but for a better future. Listen above, as it's one that I can't help but appreciate.