Although Lupe Fiasco's upcoming album "Lasers" has suffered noticeable delays due to label disputes and leaked tracks, the Grammy award-winning rapper plans on making this release his biggest yet.
"Lasers," out March 8, 2011, will feature superstar producing duo the Neptunes, as well as guest spots from Trey Songz and U.K. rapper Sway. The album's lead single "The Show Goes On," which saw a proper release and video last week, is a song Fiasco said will appeal to "die-hard Lupe Fiasco fans."
"It's a big controversial record, and a lot of ears should perk up on this song. It really is what the direction of 'Lasers' is all about," Fiasco tells Billboard.com
Video: "The Show Goes On," Lupe Fiasco
Fiasco is no stranger to controversy. Back in October, more than 200 of his fans gathered outside the NYC offices of Fiasco's label, Atlantic Records, to celebrate label execs finally setting a release date for "Lasers." But the gathering, called Fiasco Friday, was originally planned to protest Atlantic's ongoing delayed release of the album. The protest effort was preceded by an online petition signed by Fiasco followers. It read: "The fans below have been waiting for the release for Lupe Fiasco's album 'Lasers' for over a good year now… Enough is enough, we demand that you stop playing around and give us the album that we have been highly anticipating since the release of 'The Cool.'"
The rapper has also tackled music piracy, fighting track leaks on various blogs -- some of which have reportedly stopped covering the rapper due to his strong opposition to piracy. However, Fiasco says his stance on hackers and leaks remains the same.
"When it's something that's done illegally or maliciously, it's different," Fiasco says. "It's songs you don't even have as the artist, and some dude in the middle of nowhere that hacked into a computer has it. It upsets the balance of what you want to do as an artist and how you want to roll your album out."
He adds: "People don't really understand the ramifications when a song leaks. There are actually studios that are sued, and engineers that are fired."
Fiasco, however, is not opposed to the idea of offering some of his music for free -- just so long as he maintains a sense of control. He teamed up with Gatorade's Replay Series, which airs on Fox Sports Net, this past fall to give away a track titled "We Can Do It Now." The inspiring, Chicago-centric song features Fiasco's fellow Windy City natives Common, Jennifer Hudson and producer No I.D. -- perfect for the show's Chi-town-focused third season.
Video: "We Can Do It Now," feat. Lupe Fiasco, Common, Jennifer Hudson
For now, Fiasco looks forward to the release of "Lasers" -- and to furthering his own musical legacy, despite the industry hiccups that have plagued him along the way.
"I think I set the precedent for record labels -- showed everyone that you can have rappers that don't fit the format and still have a presence," says Fiasco. "You look at a person like me, or Kanye [West], and it was sort of a shock to the system. I definitely think I was part of changing that, and an influence to a lot dudes that are coming out today."
(Additionally reporting by Jillian Mapes)