Record label cannot destroy this “laser”

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Column by Ashley E. Jackson. Email [email protected].

I have been listening to the newest album by one of my favorite hip hop artists, Lupe Fiasco, called “Lasers,” and didn’t realize artists can have a love/hate relationship with their own albums.

In many online interviews, Lupe has said, “I listen to it and I’ll like some of the songs. But when I think about what it took to actually get the record together … I hate this album.”

What we music lovers don’t realize is the struggles artists have to go through with their record labels to get that top of the chart album to anxiously waiting fans like myself and to have some good music to listen to besides the radio. In music reviews, Lupe was trying to please the corporate part of the industry and it wasn’t a true Lupe Fiasco album.

In a Travis Smiley interview, Lupe Fiasco expressed he had problems with his record label Atlantic, which is owned by Warner Bros. Lupe was originally suppose to release a triple album, called “LupE.N.D,” as his third and final album, but Lupe’s contract with Atlantic records postponed his agenda. Lupe was then going to release another album in June 2009, called “The Great American Rap Album,” but that project also got postponed by the record label. Once the “Lasers” project came into effect, the record label wouldn’t release an album date.

Record labels have too much control over an artist’s creativity to develop and release good music to fans. Lupe admitted to handling the situation with his record label poorly and having issues with depression and even suicidal thoughts over the conflicting interest of the “Lasers” album. He also expressed how as an artist you have to know it’s a business and it gets separated between subjectivity versus objectivity and the creativity versus the business.

This is part of the artist’s creativity process to meet the needs for the business part of the industry. During this long dilemma with Atlantic records, Lupe stated he had to take a stand back and find the best way to get his album out but he wasn’t alone.

In October 2010, fans in New Jersey set up protests to the record labels to give Lupe a release date. After almost four years of waiting for a highly anticipated album, Lupe Fiasco’s “Lasers” sold 204,000 copies in its first week and was the No. 1 album on the Billboards.

Despite of all the obstacles and struggles, Lupe is still one of my favorite hip hop artists and “the show goes on.”