Catching up with Grammy Nominee Lupe Fiasco

What's skateboarding and Johnny Cash got to do with hip hop? Let Lupe tell it

lupe fiasco 2006
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Lupe Fiasco in New York.
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After building buzz with a hot cameo on Kanye West's Late Registration, Lupe Fiasco released one of 2006's best rap albums with his debut, Food & Liquor. Rolling Stone checks in with Lupe about Kanye, his weird post-Grammy party plans and Johnny Cash.

Did any of your buddies call to congratulate you?
I actually hit Kanye to thank him, and he hit me back just to say congratulations.

Did Kanye have any advice on an acceptance speech?
No. And I probably wouldn't take it if he did [laughs].

"Kick, Push" is a great song. Were you happy the Grammy people recognized it?
I was. A lot of people didn't believe in that record because it was a [hip-hop] record about skateboarding. But later, mothers would run up to me and be like, "You got my son skating!"

Who else would you like to see win some Grammys?
I want to see Mary J. Blige win a bunch. She was one of the first superstars that got behind me. Backstage at a show, she was like, "I love 'Kick, Push.'"

Any artists you'd like to meet at the Grammys?
Are Pink Floyd going to be there? I want to meet them. I'm a big fan.

As a Muslim, you don't drink. If you win, how will you celebrate?
We'll throw a party. I won't drink or smoke. I'll probably be playing with these toys I like, these Japanese robots.

Who would you most like to collaborate with outside of hip-hop?
I would love to reinterpret Johnny Cash. I think I'm going to do it as a mix tape. Johnny Cash is the dopest storyteller ever – him and Nas. I wouldn't sample his music, but I'd borrow his melodies. It would be about reinterpreting his lyrics, putting his lyrics in an urban setting, extending his stories. You know, like "A Boy Named Sue, 2007."

This story is from the February 8th, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 1019: February 8, 2007