Lupe Fiasco came home to Chicago Thursday night, Nov. 21, 2019, and performed his debut album, Food and Liquor, to a packed house at the Riviera Theatre. All of this is courtesy of The Red Bull Music Festival, which is in town celebrating artists with impact. Lupe definitely fits that description.
Food and Liquor was originally released in September 2006 after a series of leaks. The anticipation for Lupe’s album was high after a stellar guest verse on Kanye’s “Touch the Sky.” Lyrically, Lupe is simply one of the best to ever do it. Since his debut, he has grown as an artist and has not shied away from controversy when it comes to his political stances.
On January 20, 2013, Lupe was snatched off-stage while performing at an inaugural event for President Barack Obama. A 30-minute version of his song “Words I Never Said” included this verse: “I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bulls—, just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets.” Lupe also rapped, “Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say s—.”
This ruffled a few feathers, of course, but his core fans never left his side even in the midst of label woes with Atlantic Records.
The mood at the Riviera Theatre was celebratory and electric. The legendary DJ Twilite Tone opened the night. Newcomer Kidd Kenn gave a memorable performance. A short set by a group called Two Depressed Kids served as a bridge to Lupe’s performance.
Lupe glided across stage and performed with a full band that included horns and violins. It was a night to remember. Before he performed his first hit, “Kick Push,” Lupe spoke to the audience. “You know what this is, right? You know what this means? [This is about] the album in the city that it was made by a guy who was born on the West Side. We took it all around the world. Our stories, our struggles, our strifes, our problems and our solutions. Remember that.”
After 13 years, the album has aged beautifully and earned the label of “classic.”
The Red Bull Music Festival in Chicago continues through Nov. 30. Visit redbull.com/chicago for more details.
Take a look at the gallery above for a few pics.