LOWELL, Mass. – Lupe Fiasco has been described as a rapper with a social conscience and a hip-hop philosopher. His lyrics marry topics such as politics and history with love and skateboarding, and principles like “substance in the place of popularity” and not compromising “to be accepted by the crowd” dictate his work.
Hear Lupe Fiasco’s unique message for yourself when he plays the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell on Saturday, Sept. 22, just three days before his newest album is scheduled to be released. Tickets for the Sept. 22 show go on sale on Monday, Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Tsongas Center box office, www.tsongascenter.com
or 866-722-8780. Tickets are $27 for all students (valid ID required and there is a four-ticket limit) and $32 for the public in advance. If tickets remain on the day of the show, they will be $32 for students (six-ticket limit) and $42 for the public.
The Tsongas Center is located at 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Lowell, minutes from Route 3 and Interstate 495. The Saturday, Sept. 22 show starts at 8 p.m.; doors open for the general admission show at 6:30 p.m. for student ticket-holders and 7 p.m. for the public.
Fiasco’s long list of honors includes BET’s Best New Artist of 2007; 11 Grammy nominations and one win for “Daydreamin’,” his 2008 collaboration with Jill Scott; two MTV Award nominations for Best Hip Hop Video; and multiple nominations for NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, Urban Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards.
Fiasco, born Wasalu Muhammed Jaco, is one of nine children who were raised in Chicago. He began taking martial arts lessons as a young child and spent much of his other free time reading and listening to jazz. A high academic achiever, Fiasco began writing poems and rapping the words in junior high. In high school, he made mixtapes in the basement of his father’s house. While he joined a rap group at 19 that got a record contract and released a single, Fiasco decided to set out on his own because of his dislike for the lifestyle described in the group’s music. As a solo artist, he made connections like Jay-Z, who helped him get a recording contract and assisted on the production of his first album, and Kanye West, whose song “Touch the Sky” Fiasco remixed into a Billboard Hot 100 hit. In 2006 and 2007, he released his first two CDs and the single “Superstar” hit No. 10 on the Hot 100. While Fiasco has had an up-and-down relationship with record labels over creative matters in the years since, his fans have remained ardent, even mounting an online campaign to get his CD “LASERS” released.
“LASERS,” released in 2011, stands for “Love Always Shines Everytime: Remember to Smile” and continues his philosophical approach to music. “Lasers are shining beams of light that burn through the darkness of ignorance. Lasers shed light on injustice and inequality” and stand for love and compassion, shape their own destinies, find meaning all around them and are revolutionary, Fiasco writes on his website.
“Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album,” a follow-up on Fiasco’s debut CD, which was named for the stores common where he grew up in Chicago, is set for release on Sept. 25. The first single from the album, “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” produced by Simonsayz and B-Side, was released in May.
The Sept. 22 show is part of a month of activities welcoming UMass Lowell students back to campus for the fall semester. It is being presented by the Campus Activity Programming Association (CAPA), which has booked big names like Drake, J.Cole and Snoop Dogg to play the Tsongas Center. Those are just a few examples of the top acts that have performed at the Tsongas Center since it was acquired by UMass Lowell in 2009.
“I think it’s cool Lupe Fiasco is coming here,” said Rudy Baez, a UMass Lowell senior and CAPA member. “I think he’s a great artist. I love his music.”
“He is a socially conscious rapper. We’ve had him on our list for some time and we’ve also heard from incoming students that they’d like to see him perform on campus, too,” said Tasha Baclawski, associate director of UMass Lowell’s Office of Student Activities and Leadership, who works with CAPA.
UMass Lowell is a comprehensive, national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 15,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu