April 29th, 2010 10:48 EST
SOP's Battle of the Bands Featuring Lupe Fiasco ft. Alicia Keys with 'Love Letter To The Beat'
Fiasco was born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco on February 16, 1982 in Chicago, Illinois. Born of West African descent, he was one of nine children of Shirley, a gourmet chef, and Gregory, an engineer.
His father, who was a member of the Black Panther Party, was a prolific African drummer, karate teacher and owner of karate schools and army surplus stores.
Fiasco was raised Muslim on the West side of Chicago. At the age of three, Fiasco began taking martial arts classes. By age 10, he earned his first black belt. He attended Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois. He initially "hated" hip hop music for its use of vulgarity. He began rapping when he was in the eighth grade, and upon hearing Nas` 1996 album, It Was Written, began to pursue hip hop.
Growing up, Fiasco was given the nickname "Lu", the last part of his first name, by his mother. "Lupe" is an extension of this nickname, which he borrowed from a friend from high school. "Fiasco," he says, "came from the Firm album. They had the song, `Firm Fiasco`. I just liked the way it looked on paper."
At age 19, Fiasco was in a group called Da Pak. They signed to Epic Records and released one single before splitting up. Fiasco later signed a solo deal with Arista Records, but was dropped when president and CEO L. A. Reid was fired.
During this time, he had guest appearances on singles on Tha` Rayne`s "Kiss Me" and "Didn`t You Know" and also K Foxx`s 2004 "This Life". He also released the song "Coulda Been" on a compilation of MTV`s Advance Warning. In 2005, he was featured on Kanye West`s single, "Touch the Sky". This cameo plus his politically charged Conflict Diamonds " mix-tape rhyme over Kanye West`s Diamonds From Sierra Leone, " as well as his Kick, Push " single about skateboarding raised curious eyebrows from hip-hop aficionados, getting the new artist lots of attention.
Read More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupe_Fiasco