Today in Hip Hop History: September 19, 2006
American MC Lupe Fiasco released his debut album, “Food & Liquor,” through 1st & 15th Entertainment/Atlantic Records in 2006. The album was recorded from 2003-2006 in Chicago, Hollywood and New York. Food & Liquor contained production from Jay-Z, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, Prolyfic and others. It featured the likes of Sarah Green, Gemini, Jonah Matranga, Matthew Santos, Jill Scott and Jay-Z.
Food & Liquor is the classic debut from the conscious rapper, as it discusses issues such as “poverty, Islam, terrorism, racism and individuality.” It contains mixed aspects of Chicago hip hop with alternative hip hop. The conception on the album was made possible by executive producer, Jay-Z, after he was impressed with Lupe’s feature on Kanye’s “Touch the Sky.” The title of the album refers to the “food and liquor” stores in Chicago, in addition to the opposite pull of both food and liquor representing good and evil, respectively.
Prior to its release, the album leaked to fantastic critical reviews. Despite this, Lupe decided to shelf the album for a bit and record new material to add to it. He also was forced to make several changes to it due to sample issues and samples not clearing.
Food & Liquor peaked at #8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and #1 on the U.S. Top Rap Albums Chart. Many viewed Lupe as the “savior of hip hop” alongside contemporaries Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. Lupe raised the bar in a lackluster time in hip hop, as he expanded his conscientious raps into the mainstream audience. Food & Liquor was named best hip hop album of 2006 by several critics and magazines, and it also earned Fiasco 3 nominations and 1 Award at the 50th Grammy Awards. Additionally, Complex Magazine labelled the album as one of the classics of its decade.