By Stephen Willis Friday, December 30th, 2011
One of the most celebrated emcees in hip hop since he debuted back in 2006, Lupe Fiasco had never caught the mainstream’s attention. That all changed in 2011, for a myriad of reasons. Fiasco’s Lasers album finally gave the Chicago rhymer his crossover hit—despite the fact that it was shelved for years. A testament to Fiasco’s following and influence is the way his fans rallied against his label, Atlantic Records, to get the album released.
And once it was released, despite Fiasco’s reservations, Lasers proved to be the rapper’s most commercially-successful project. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Albums chart and sold 200,000 copies in its first week. The rapper’s performance of "Out of My Head" at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards further raised his profile—as did controversial statements Lupe made regarding president Obama that found him being criticized by several pundits, including FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly.
Of course, that only further raised his profile and by late 2011, Lupe Fiasco had become one of the most talked-about rappers in the game. In addition to performances, Lupe made appearances on CBS’ "What’s Trending," FOX’s "The O’Reilly Factor," and Comedy Central’s political satire "The Colbert Report."