From cartoons to graffiti to fine art, Hebru Brantley is the hottest name in the Chicago arts scene with loyalists such as Jay Z, Alicia Keys, and LeBron James. His transition from graffiti to canvas has attracted some serious national attention. Through all of this success, Hebru represents Chicago. Recently asked by the Huffington Post, Hebru talks his love for the city and the family like feel here.
The Penny Candy shop ran from Friday to Sunday during Lollapalooza and was hosted all weekend long by Hebru in conjunction with Enstrumental, whose shirts have become iconic. Definitely check out his shirt (on Lupe in the pics) "Rap - Lies = Hip hop." (#TheMathematics). Ahhhhhhh he couldn't have put it better. Plus, Hebru combined with Enstrumental for the exclusive release of a line only available in the pop up shop this weekend — for example, the "Mike" series below.
We got the chance to chit chat with the big man, with an equally big heart. Coming up from the Southside, Hebru’s so grounded and his art illustrates his upbringing with fantasy like depiction. So much love for Hebru! Such a great event and such an amazing individual! #ChicagoPride
First, the tweets. In the past two days, Lupe revealed new videos coming soon for Food & Liquor 2's "Strange Fruition" and "Animal Pharm" (special to us for the #GWHHPremiere, so I'm especially excited for that one.) Plus, it's done by the same people Lupe worked with on the "#1234" trio of videos: WOLF Studio. The bar was set high with that one, but I look forward how they will find a new way to get there with these 2 upcoming videos.
Now the lyrics... or should we technically say "ideas"? "Piece Of Paper / Cup of Jayzus", which Lupe tweets is out September 11th.
UPDATE: More iPhone notes revealed! Daaaamn. Lupe ghostwriting diss against himself, ha! Nice. It's on.
New music from Lu in a month?! Wow, these next two months of music keep shaping up with an exciting mix of releases from some big names, my favorite artists, and let's not forget the underground independent scene too. Keep in tune!
As for Lu, the most recent Twitter chatter from him regarding new music was a song called "Blur My Hands" featuring Guy Sebastian and produced by Symbolyc One (as recapped here). He did, however, disclaim that it was not the first single. Shouts to LUPend for the news and potential artwork above?
And lastly, we actually ran into Lupe himself just yesterday at the Hebru Brantley x Enstrumental Pop-Up Shop! Great to connect with him during Lolla weekend in the hometown. More Lolla coverage coming and if you're in Chicago, Hebru's Pop-Up Shop is the place to be and going on all weekend at 902 S. Wabash. Simply put: fresh art and fashion that you gotta see for yourself. And who knows who you'll see there today and tomorrow?!
Ever the hometown favorite, Lupe Fiasco will perform in celebration of another Chicago institution, the Bears. The team is holding a season kickoff event at Aragon Ballroom on September 5th, sponsored by Miller Lite. The concert is part of "Back to Football Week" which aims to get fans psyched for the upcoming season, one that will hopefully be better than the last one. Tickets are $35 before fees and can be purchased here. Also in attendence will be musicians Michael Franti and Spearhead, along with Bears players to sign hats and whatnot. Sounds like a fun time.
Via Lupe's now private Twitter account (haha), he revealed last night he was listening to the first edit of a new song featuring his "Battle Scars" compadre Guy Sebastian. As you can see it's called "Blur My Hands" and the #TY indicates his upcoming announced album, Tetsuo Youth. Plus, S1 tweeted it above too and this makes sense since Lu and him have been in the lab, both parties have said in recent history. All sounds like a good combo to me! Hopefully we'll have that final edit sooner than later.
Chuckie f/ Lupe Fiasco, Snow Tha Product, & Too $hort
PRODUCTION Chuckie & Bangladesh
SUBMITTED BY Sgt. Tibs
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The EDM DJ crosses over into the hip hop world with this new single featuring Lupe, Snow, and Short. The beat gets redundant, but thankfully Lupe's clever basketball references make this one worth a listen. Tags by the Leakers for now (and hopefully updated soon with no tags, that kinda kills it as well.)
At 12:34 CT, Lupe Fiasco premieres #1234 — one day, FL2, 3 videos, on the 4th of July. "Lamborghini Angels", "ITAL" & "Audubon Ballroom" — all in the 12 minutes seen above.
UPDATE: Some thoughts. Firstly, watch the video first before reading about it below! Watching this without knowing what to expect makes the ideal experience.
So that said, I came away from "#1234" thinking I just watched a well-presented work of art. I loved the structure that got revealed with each song — the video of "Lamborghini Angels" being watched by the young children in "ITAL" and then the observation of that by a group of different types of people in "Audubon Ballroom". I love when visual art is recursive like that, so that first moment of "ITAL" when that became the case was when my interest went up a notch.
I suppose my interest waned a little during "Lamborghini Angels" because of the one critique I have of the video: the use of a kaleidoscope effect. Visually, I've never been a fan of it, like on Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream cover, or especially in the tacky "N****s In Paris" video. Having a kaleidoscope in your hands is a different story, but it doesn't translate that well to me in video. So while I didn't vibe with the way the video was presented initially, I also realized after second viewing that the kaleidoscope effect was a great way to present the issues Lu talks about in "Lamborghini Angels", like following a materialistic lifestyle or using religion as an excuse to sin. So that said, no beef with the end product. After all, it's Lupe and director Alex Nazari's true vision. Plus, this presentation made the quick text messages even more impactful, which is worth noting to not turn your head from the video for one second because you'll literally miss them.
Moving onto "ITAL" is when the songs take new meaning and connections. I believe Lupe was making a statement on racism with the cop arresting the young African-American child and then the Caucasian child stepping in to watch an orchestra (and not the "Lamborghini Angels" video) and then eventually the news (which Lu has long had criticisms about). The conclusion being metaphoric in two ways: there is racism still alive in today's society and that the youth are being influenced by the ills in the "Lamborghini Angels" video (money, guns, women) with the arrest acting as the foreshadowing of what happens to the youth who follow that path. Those are my basic observations, but I can't help but feel there's more to it. What do you all think?
And finally, with "Audubon Ballroom" (my favorite song of the three), the lasting image will undoubtedly be the KKK Guy dancing during the hook. I couldn't help but share the likely reaction amongst us all of, "Wow. What is going on here?" Lupe's cameo as The KKK Guy at the end certainly becomes the next lasting image as the *wink* certainly intends to drive home his message.
Plus, isn't it cool to see the song's artwork come to life after so long?
However, the *wink* as The KKK Guy is where I'm most unsure of what Lupe intends to convey. I do think he's at least saying that we, as one, can do better and help save the youth. "Audubon" acknowledges the current and changed meanings of "n****" while also celebrating black history. Now thinking of the song in context to the previous songs and videos, I think "Audubon" has an even deeper meaning. This exact idea is why I like music videos that push the envelope and act as a visual extention of the song. And believe it or not, the majority of music videos in hip hop don't come close to doing so, and lack this type of added depth (that's just a side comment on music videos in general.)
So to conclude — let's discuss! What conclusions do you draw about the songs, the structure of the video, and Lupe's overall message? The video is very unique and clearly a multi-layered statement, mixed with new complexities and connections between the three songs off Food & Liquor II. Leave it to Lupe to give no excuse for a mental exercise on the holiday, ha! Happy 4th!
In a keynote address to some 150 recent high school graduates during the 2013 Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood Ceremony Saturday, hometown hero Lupe Fiasco expressed his congratulations as well as some characeristically strong sentiments.
"You have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world," Lupe said, in an effort to put an otherwise joyous occasion into perspective. "You have just spent the last . . . 12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth."
Lupe is no stranger to the harsh reality that is growing up as a disenfranchised youth in Chicago, and with his bold statements, he was looking to send a clear message to the graduates.
"[Manhood] is one the last things that we have . . . and one of the last things that we can control. Manhood is connected to humanity.”
On the bright side, Lupe pledged $100 to each of the 150 graduates in attendance at the event. Let's hope this, combined with some honest and heartfelt sentiments, will make a difference for some of them.