Last year, Lupe's fans took to the streets to demand Atlantic Records release Lupe's LASERS. I mean they literally hit the streets in NYC outside the Atlantic offices and held a mini-protest, and they did it completely on their own without Lupe's urging.
That's love, man.
A lot of people online leveled complaints along the lines of "find something more meaningful to protest" and other such criticisms. I 100% agree with that - any album is way less important than the countless political and social injustices running rampant in our society. However, I came to realize: who's to say these same people aren't at those other protests? Pick your battles and whatnot.
That being said, it looks like Lupe's people (or maybe just Atlantic?) have discovered the possibility of capitalizing on this zeal by organizing a mass "purchasing event" disguised as a insurrectionist celebration. Not only is Fiasco Friday II aiming to transform the rebellious energy of the first gathering into a capitalistic fuckall mega sale, but they're holding it at a Best Buy of all places! The profits won't even be going to a local record shop. I know Fat Beats could use the funds (or have they already shut down?).
But hasn't this been the most popular marketing and advertising tactic for the past few decades? Take something with a rebellious image - like hip-hop, skateboarding, punk rock, tattoos, and most recently the Green movement, among a whole slew of other subcultural movements and images - then flip it, slap it on a bunch of t-shirts, ads, and billboards, and sell that shit like crazy.
I don't know if this is something Lupe himself initiated or took part in planning, but he's certainly showing support for the event on his twitter page by retweeting promotion of the event.
With all this attention being paid to the release and support of LASERS, it better damn well be a solid album. Personally, I'm still on the fence, but leaning towards purchasing. I liked "I'm Beaming" and "Shining Down", "What You Want" was really great, but that "The Show Goes On" track with the Modest Mouse sample fell short (to be fair though, the verses are tight but the beat and hook are horrendous). I might just hold out for Food & Liquor II (check out stuff from that HERE and HERE).
Anyway, check out the press release below and let me know what you think. It's pretty obviously a marketing ploy, possibly as a response to the fear that the album won't sell now that the fervor has died down so much since a couple months ago. We'll see how it all pans out.
In the fall of 2010, Lupe Fiasco fans worldwide made music history when they petitioned and protested Atlantic Records, demanding the release of Lupe Fiasco’s LASERS album. After successfully receiving a release date, over 250 fans came out to “Fiasco Friday” at the New York branch of Atlantic Records to protest and publically acknowledge the injustice done by the company. What began as a small, internet phenomenon quickly evolved into a historic event that transcended the music industry. Because of this protest supported by dedicated, intelligent, and head-strong members of this international music rebellion, the world will hear Lupe Fiasco’s LASERS album on March 8, 2011.
The success of the protest, combined with the growing amount of young people interested in this positive message, made it an easy decision to organize Fiasco Friday II. On March 8, 2011, Lupe Fiasco will release his third studio album, LASERS. On this date, Lupe Fiasco fans in the New York area will meet in Union Square and hold a “Mass Purchase Event” at the Union Square Best Buy. On March 11, 2011, four cities nationwide will hold “LASERS Release Celebrations” to recognize our enormous accomplishment. New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago will mark this historic release with celebration parties, featuring charity fundraisers for the Education Equality Project, speeches, local artist performances, and the repeated playing of LASERS. The event will bring Lupe Fiasco fans together to promote and enjoy the album.
There is a large movement forming all around the world- a group of people hungry for intelligent music. As a generation, we refuse to be slaves to commercial radio and the musical power-grab by large corporations. Music is one of the most important tools of expression and is a massive platform for the spread of ideas. A growing faction of global youth is sick and tired of substance-less music that encourages a society built on materialism, sexism, ignorance, and a false sense of rebellion without a cause. Politically and socially conscious hip-hop has been a staple in music since its creation in the 1970s. Sadly, that major portion of hip-hop has drastically declined and is barely breathing in comparison to the sex-driven rap of 2010. A substantial reason for this change is that major music corporations reward mediocre artists for putting out repetitive music instead of encouraging creativity and diversity. These greedy music tyrants demand that artists constantly put out status-quo music that suppresses originality. Few artists are bold enough to maintain a strong, intelligent, hip-hop sound. One of those artists is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, or Lupe Fiasco. This movement is a reflection of Lupe himself, and the quality music and messages he delivers to the public.
The Fiasco Friday movement represents the angry Lupe Fiasco fans who demanded the new Lasers material, the rebellious youth resistant of big corporations now controlling music, hip-hop fans who are fed up with senseless music and lack of meaning, politically active and socially relevant people, music fans looking for diversity, and average people looking for an artist to relate with. We are sick of the plague of ill-inspired lyrics with repetitive song structure and meaning that corrupts our corporation run radio stations. This is not a fringe, weak group of people- it’s an intelligent, calculated conglomerate of Atlantic’s decisions. We succeeded in protesting Atlantic, and this March we will celebrate that fact. This message, and the music of Lupe Fiasco, will not be stopped. On March 11th, we will celebrate and hear the release of the revolutionary, controversial, and protested Lupe Fiasco album, LASERS. We invite you to come celebrate with us.