World 3.0: Thoughtful rapper Lupe Fiasco rhymes for cancer survivors

Rapper Lupe Fiasco, born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, grew up in the 1980s in a particularly rough neighbourhood on Chicago’s West Side—a neighbourhood filled with drug dealers, prostitution and gang activity. In an interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, Lupe says despite the chaos outside, his home was a kind of oasis where reading was encouraged and the shelves were lined with books and National Geographic magazines, and he credits his father with teaching him about music, art, karate and the world around him. Lupe, discovered by Jay Z at 18, has four albums and a Grammy, and is widely viewed as a pioneer of the conscious hip-hop movement and his work has been described as “music to think to, not to drink to.”

I started to dig more into that intellectual upbringing, that kind of source material. That had a greater reaction.

Lupe Fiasco, rapper

Lupe’s latest release, “Tetsuo & Youth,” includes the track, “Mission,” a song that begins with defiant introductions from cancer survivors telling their stories and lyrics that empower people battling cancer and remembers those who have died fighting it. The song is a benefit to Stand Up to Cancer, an organisation near and dear to Couric, who helped launched the organisation and who’s husband, Jay, and sister, Emily, died of cancer. Lupe is working on a remix of the song, appropriately calling it “Re-Mission,” and asked Couric to share her story for the song.

My name is Katie Couric. I lost my husband, Jay, to colon cancer when he was 42. I lost my sister, Emily, to pancreatic cancer when she was 54. We lost so much, but they missed so much. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, babies, I hate that they miss so much. I don’t want other people to miss so much.

Katie Couric, Yahoo News anchor