Lupe Fiasco Airs Out Issues With Atlantic Records After He’s Accused Of Not Wanting To ‘Conform’


Lupe Fiasco is setting the record straight on his issues with former label Atlantic Records. On Monday (August 1), the Chicago-bred MC responded to a tweet from a fan that alleged Fiasco simply didn’t want to “conform” to the imprint’s expectations.

“Not accurate,” the 40-year-old replied. “I was comfortable making pop records. The issue was who controlled those records and what the ownership and splits were. Atlantic would only promote my records if they owned a large portion of them or if I signed a 360 deal. I gave Bruno Mars Just The Way You Are.”

Lupe Fiasco expounded on the topic in several follow-up tweets as more people began joining the conversation. When a fan suggested the label did him “dirty,” he responded by quoting former chairman and chief executive at Warner Lyor Cohen as well as Mike Kyser, Head of Urban at Atlantic Records in 2012.

“‘I cannot guarantee we will promote your records if you are not a 360 artist on the label.’ -Lyor Cohen President Of Warner Music 2008,” he wrote. “‘We don’t think BattleScars is a good look for you so we’re not gonna sign off on the release.’ – Mike Kyser Head Of Urban Atlantic Records 2012.”

He then pinpointed the moment in his time with Atlantic Records where he believes things took a sharp left. He explained, “The issue was never my ability to make hit or pop records. The issue wasn’t even the business per se. My contracts were solid. It’s when the label didn’t want to abide by the contracts anymore and started throwing shitty little curveballs out of FOMO and greed. All bad after that.”

Lupe Fiasco even confessed he didn’t mind being “controlled,” adding, “It’s a team. Let win as a team. They were calling fouls on our own plays AFTER we already won the game!! I was like WTF are y’all doing??? After The Cool I was done. I stuck around to complete my contract but I checked out in 09.”

He continued, “I only put this out there again & again cuz folks think I be full of ego and or that I’m some hard to work with artist etc. but I’ve been in some deeply wack situations in this business that took all kinds of adjustments to stay sane and progress. I protect my peace at all costs.”

The Drill Music In Zion rapper, who signed with Atlantic in 2005, has been vocal about his contentious relationship with the label for years. In a 2014 interview with Torae Carr for SiriusXM, he was asked how it was going to which he replied, “Bad, to keep it a thousand. I can’t wait to get off. Even with that said, I’m coming with the biggest records of my career over the next two albums just to set myself up for that post-Atlantic Records career.

“I’ve had a very interesting run for various reasons. I don’t even think about it anymore. I just go ahead. I rock with my homies at the label who are my homies … but that executive level don’t fuck with your boy too heavy. And it’s good, it is what it is. I don’t have a 360 deal. Since they can’t eat off my merchandise or my publishing or my touring they treat me like a third-class citizen up there. I paid the price for that.”

Fiasco released his latest album, Drill Music In Zion, in June via 1st & 15th Too and Thirty Tigers. It served as the follow-up to 2018’s Drogas Wave.