In grade six, Lupe Fiasco moved out of Chicago to the suburb of Harvey, Illinois. He lived with his father who taught him how to use guns because they lived next door to a crack house.
Despite an unstable upbringing living between his divorced parents, Lupe Fiasco was a very smart child who excelled in a variety of subjects in school. As a teenager, he was also in athletic decathlon competitions.
At first, Lupe Fiasco hated rap because of its vulgarity. He preferred to listen to jazz music and idolized clarinet player Benny Goodman. He struggled to learn how to play an instrument however, which led him to writing poetry and eventually turning his poems into rhymes.
Lupe Fiasco almost dropped out of the music scene in the late '90s. He had a solo deal with Arista Records that fell through when CEO L.A. Reid was fired. Luckily, Lupe met Jay-Z during his short time at Arista and the rapper liked his work. As president of Def Jam Recordings, Jay-Z signed Lupe and later helped him score a deal with Atlantic Records.
In 2007, Lupe Fiasco suffered several setbacks while recording his second album The Cool. His father passed away from type II diabetes. Additionally, his main business partner Charles "Chilly" Patton was arrested for supplying heroin to a drug ring. Chilly was sentenced to 44 years in prison.
Atlantic Records almost didn't release Lupe Fiasco's third album, Lasers. Upon completion of the record, the label wasn't happy with it and said it "lacked commercial singles." Atlantic presented Lupe with a number of songs they wanted him to record, but the rapper refused because he wouldn't have any ownership rights to any of them. In response, the label delayed the release of Lasers for months until more than 16,000 fans signed an online petition to force Atlantic to put it out. The record went straight to number one, selling over 200,000 copies in its first week.
Lupe Fiasco was a big supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011. The Hip-Hop star donated tents to protesters and included songs about the movement on his Friend of the People mixtape, which was released on Thanksgiving Day 2011.
Lupe Fiasco's father, Gregory Jaco, is a former Black Panther and martial-arts expert. Inspired by his dad, Fiasco was attending karate class by his fourth-birthday and would earn the first of his four black belts by the age of 10.
Lupe Fiasco announced on his Twitter account on December 13, 2016 that he was hanging up his mic.
"I get the hint God," he tweeted. "Yo Lupe fans it's been fun and I hope you've had fun. I'm officially not releasing anymore music. Albums cancelled."
The announcement came after he was accused of anti-semitic lyrics on a freestyle titled "N.E.R.D." The track included the lines: "Artists gettin' robbed for their publishing. By dirty Jewish execs who think that it's alms from the covenant."
Two weeks later the Chicago rapper did an about face when he announced that his album DOGAS Light would be released on February 10, 2017.