Lupe Fiasco explains why he’ll always have respect for his former collaborator Kanye West, no matter how “crazy he goes.”
Lupe Fiasco is widely regarded as one of the greatest lyricists to ever do it, though his challenging and sometimes inaccessible catalog has kept him from becoming a recurring presence in GOAT conversation. Still, he has remained one of the more compelling emcees, and one who happens to boast a vast wealth of stories and intriguing anecdotes. He happened to share a few during a recent conversation with Andrew Barber on The Coda Collection, where he opened up about his long-running — and sometimes contentious — relationship with Kanye West.
Lupe & Kanye West in 2006. Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage/Getty Images
“I been knowing Ye for a long-ass time,” explains Lupe, after Barber inquires about their history. “I remember first meeting Ye when he first did The Truth for Beans. We did a symposium together, some little speaking thing at Columbia college. N***a had a fro’ and some other shit, it was weird. I was working with Ye for years. I got Ye joints. I remember Ye used to come to the crib, like ‘what do you think about this verse?’ He’d spit verses and shit.”
“I remember we brought Ye into Arista to showcase for L.A. Reid,” reveals Lupe. “Before Roc-a-Fella. Stack Bundles was sitting there. It was me, Stack, Kanye, and LA Reid in the office.” Lupe laughs. “When Kanye stopped, LA was like ‘you should stick to making beats.’ Real shit! That’s why I always honor Ye no matter how fuckin’ crazy he goes. I’ve seen that man struggle. Him just working through it.”
Though Kanye has since taken on the qualities of a larger-than-life figure, it’s certainly humbling to hear one of the low points in his origin story detailed by a first-hand witness. Clearly, Lupe will forever hold Kanye in high esteem following that fateful meeting with L.A. Ried, leaving us all wondering what might have been had Yeezy actually taken the music mogul’s blunt advice. Check out the story for yourself below.