Introducing Fiasco Friday, A Quixotic Plan to Picket the Offices of Atlantic Records In the Name of Lupe Fiasco


As far back as 2007, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco was threatening to quit music and telling us, “The entity of recorded music really sucks, it’s really wack, especially when you’re doing it through a major. It’s like, you don’t make any money unless you sell tons and tons of records. And I’m not selling tons and tons of records. So, financially, it’s like, this ain’t making no sense.” Since then though, Fiasco has made his peace with the system, or seemed to. He followed up 2007’s The Cool by announcing a forthcoming record, most recently called Lasers. But despite the fact that Lupe has asserted numerous times in the ensuing two and half years that the album is done, his label, Atlantic, still has yet to grace it with a release date. Fiasco feels at this point that his label is holding the LP hostage. Apparently, 29,751 people agree, and some of them plan to protest outside of Atlantic’s New York offices next month.

Meet Fiasco Friday, explained on the protest’s website like so:

On July 21st 2010 Richard Baker created an online petition to demand the release of Lupe Fiasco’s highly anticipated third album, Lasers. Having been ready for the past two and a half years, Atlantic Records have failed to provide Lupe with a release date for the album. As of yet, we have only received music through leaks, and from Lupe’s live shows. Despite closing in on 30,000 signatures, Atlantic have not yet provided us with an official statement. Recently, Lupe claimed he was unsure if the album would ever be released.

Following on from this petition, we have decided to rally against the injustice shown by Atlantic. As Lupe provides challenging music that addresses fundamental social issues within our societies, we feel deprived of something special. Having patiently waited for more than two years, we feel the lack of action from Atlantic to be in bad taste. We are, therefore, taking it upon ourselves to demonstrate the passion we have for someone we regard as a staple in the hip-hop community.

We hope this rally outside of Atlantic’s New York headquarters will press Atlantic to release the album.

The group has now set a date, a time, a place, and a suitably appropriate meeting spot–the statue of William Tecumseh Sherman, at 59th and 5th–from which they will march to the Atlantic Records offices and demand that the label put the damn thing out already. “Signs are encouraged, but please, no profanity.” So far, 862 people have RSVP’d and said they’re coming–Lupe Fiasco himself appears to be one of them. Shirts and hoodies have been made; carpool trips into New York from our surrounding environs are apparently in the process of being organized; official legal permits have been applied for though not as yet, to our knowledge, actually granted.

Organizer Matt LaCorte explains the big idea further in an email:

If we don’t receive a Lasers release date before October 15th, we will organize in mass. This protest represents the angered Lupe Fiasco fans who want 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, small group of people: it’s an intelligent, calculated rebellion of Atlantic’s decisions. This message, and the music of Lupe Fiasco, will not be stopped. We ask you join us on October 15th.

Is this a new paradigm, or is Lupe about to be once again publicly humiliated? Are mass protests what it takes to get a record that’s not by Justin Bieber released in 2010? Will Atlantic be moved? The answers to these questions and more, coming shortly.

Friday, October 15, 2010 [Fiasco Friday]