Lupe Fiasco Breaks Down How Martial Arts Impacted His Life

The rapper talks about his docu-series ‘Beat N Path,’ growing up as a martial artist, music and much more.

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Lupe Fiasco Breaks Down How Martial Arts Impacted His Life
MIC/LINE
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MIC/LINE is HYPEBEAST Radio‘s music-centric show that looks to deliver in-depth conversations with your favorite artists, digging into their origin stories and asking the questions you want answered. For this week’s episode, we sit down with the award-winning Lupe Fiasco at Mission Chinese Food.

It is to say the least that Lupe Fiasco has had a prolific career, one that sprawls two decades. From albums like Food & Liquor and The Cool, to his most recent album Drogas Wave, the Chicagoan entered the scene at a time when artists like Ludacris, Soulja Boy and Young Joc were the mainstream. Known for his “conscious rap,” Lupe was a thought-provoking lyricist who was also notable for being a hypebeast well before it was the fashion norm.

The rapper has always defied conventions, which can be seen most recently in his new docu-series, Beat N Path. Produced by Studio SV, alongside Bonnie Chan Woo, the show details Lupe’s travels to China, investigating various martial arts cultures and historical importance. A skilled martial artist himself, Lupe was born into this lifestyle having been taught by his late father, Gregory Jaco, who not only spent decades teaching and mentoring Chicago’s youth, but he also built a school in the Midwest metropolis. 

“My father always told us that his system was complete in certain areas, but there were some things where you have to go to Japan to finish your martial arts training. He’d always talk finishing your training. Go to China. Go to these original places and finish your training there. So this is me quasi-finishing my training.” 

Detailing the preconceived notions of being young, black and studying martial arts, Lupe tells us that for him it was a way of life, something he was born into. It not only taught him discipline and moral ethics, but the lifestyle extended to every part of his being, whether it was music or personal philosophies.

“People get into the martial arts for the culture, and behind that culture is spirituality. There’s a lot of insight. There’s a lot of philosophy. Stuff that as a black person was stripped from us that we didn’t have.” 

When asked about music, Lupe mentions he’s spent the past five years dedicated to SOSA: Society of Spoken Art—an educational guild providing fundamental linguistics and semiology for aspiring rappers. He later discusses his thoughts on continuing music, the changing narrative of being a rapper, meeting Nas and much more. For more info you can head on over to his official Beat N Path website to check out all nine parts of the docuseries.

Keep up with everything HYPEBEAST Radio and subscribe to MIC/LINE on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast or wherever else you enjoy your podcasts. Feel free to reach out to our host, Manny, on Twitter at @ECM_LP and follow HYPEBEAST Music for more original content and music news.

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Emmanuel Maduakolam/HYPEBEAST
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Eddie Lee/HYPEBEAST
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Christina Hong/HYPEBEAST

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