Lupe Fiasco staying away from politics on new album

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Lupe Fiasco

Rapper Lupe Fiasco speaks during the Mass Black Male Graduation Ceremony June 29, 2013 at the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center on the grounds of Chicago State University. (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune)

The man who told CBS News in 2011 “the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America” is taking a break from rapping about politics.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco said his fifth album, “Tetsuo & Youth,” will be more like his 2006 debut, “Food & Liquor,” which included the skateboard anthem “Kick, Push,” than the political-heavy music he’s released in recent years. Fiasco earlier this year was escorted off the stage at a pre-inauguration party in Washington D.C. when he reportedly performed his song “Words I Never Said” – in which Fiasco mentions why he didn’t vote for President Barack Obama – for a half hour.

“For some people it's gonna be a shock, because there are no politics on the record,” Fiasco told Rolling Stone. “Consciously, there are no politics on the record. If you want to hear my political spiel or some psuedo-intellectual Lupe, go listen to (2012's) ‘Food & Liquor II.’ From here on out, I'm just making music.”

The album’s first single, “Old School Love,” features Ed Sheeran and, in my opinion, has sort of a Kanye West-“Family Business” feel to it. Also on the album, which is scheduled to hit stores in early 2014, is Chris Brown, Rick Ross and Big K.R.I.T.

While I appreciate that Fiasco’s music tends to shy away from rap cliches such as money, cars and women and respect that he speaks out against violence rather than encourage it, his constant political talk became a distraction and often overshadowed his talent. It became less about music and too much about his anti-establishment, political agenda and Twitter feuds. He became the guy you pray you never get stuck talking to at a party. As I half-jokingly tweeted last year, “When is the last time Lupe Fiasco smiled?”

Still, I hope Fiasco doesn't completely "dumb it down" and is able to find some sort of balance. We need people who challenge the system -- just not all the time.

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

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The Grammys 2011