Lupe Fiasco Serves Up an Oral History of “Food & Liquor” 10 Years Later (Audio)
For Lupe Fiasco fans, September 19, 2006 marked the arrival of one of the best debut albums from an MC in the 21st century. With Food & Liquor, the Chicago, Illinois storyteller was extending a discography he’d launched a year prior with his Fahrenheit 1/15 Part I: The Truth Is Among Us mixtape. Featuring Jay Z as an executive producer and production from the Neptunes, Kanye West, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and others, Food & Liquor was a four-time Grammy nominee and would scoop up an Award for “Daydreamin’,” the Jill Scott-assisted single.
10 years later, Lupe has provided Heads with a retrospective on the LP, in his own words. Rather than filter its oral history through an interview, he opted instead to upload more than an hour’s worth of memories directly to his Soundcloud page and the result is an exceptionally in-depth look back at not only the music, but also the cover art and other anecdotes about the recording of the LP and related memories. For nearly an hour, Lupe vividly illustrates the conceptual approach to the album’s artwork, addressing each included item in clockwork order. Along the way, he divulges his fascination with Japanese art, his relationship to Islam, his affinity for video games, and much more.
Food & Liquor‘s musical content begins to be addressed near the 59-minute mark, when Lupe touches on “interesting stories” that come to mind as he reads the production credits on the back cover of the CD. “When I look at this, it’s funny how much stuff is missing,” he remarks before sharing that “we had a joint with 3 6 Mafia that didn’t make it ’cause they had sold the beat to Playaz Circle.” He also says “I think we went back and did ‘I Gotcha’ with Pharrell,” suggesting that song wasn’t included in the original track listing. He briefly mentions that “Kick, Push II” was originally produced by Usher’s little brother but he says that situation “got crazy” and Brandon Howard was enlisted to reproduce the track.
Lupe begins to recount his memories about “Daydreamin'” at the 1:03:45 mark. “What people don’t know is that ‘Daydreamin” was produced by Craig Kallman but like, not really,” he says. “It was like a whole sample loop and he had kinda brought on folks to do some pieces and parts, but you know, whatever. People claim what they wanna claim.” He then goes into his feelings on working with Jill Scott, given the fact that he was such a tremendous fan of hers. “I remember goin’ to Philly and being in the studio with Jill…it was super ’cause I was a humongous fan…I remember that whole process was really dope.” Before sharing a charming anecdote about finding halal food in Philadelphia, he says that’s “the one thing that really stands out for me on [‘Daydreamin”],” an inclusion that makes “Ten Yurrs Layda” much more than a story of an album.
Also recounted are reflections on the original version of “Kick, Push,” the recording of “The Instrumental,” how he was sidetracked twice during the release of Food & Liquor, different versions of “The Cool” including one featuring Sa-Ra, Jigga’s thoughts on “Pressure”‘s original version (which didn’t feature him), the thought process behind his 12-minute outro, and more.
At the 1:10:15 mark, Lupe alludes to the fact that his “career is coming to a close,” which may be all the evidence Heads need to feel assured that he will in fact drop three more albums before the close of 2016, something he’s said in past interviews and on social media.