When Lupe Fiasco first came started buzzing with “Kick Push” (like mid-hype, pre-flop), he performed at my boy Louis’ Kicksclusive and Karmaloop party. (big up to Shana L). The party celebrated Lupe’s cover story, there were lots of sponsors, and tons of streetwear/sneakerheads in attendance.

After about 2 hours of being told that Lupe was just about to hit the stage, many of the freshly-dressed hipsters were wilting and grumpy. So when he finally appeared, they were understandably expectant. Lupe seemed offended and berated the crowd for not having enough energy, especially since he had “just flew all the way out here from L.A.” Uh oh….. Out came some boo-birds and the hecklers.(Please note: many streetwear kids are touchy because who knows what shit they’ve already taken during the course of the day for their tight-fitting Wesc jeans.) And during “Kick Push,” Lupe threw his fitted out into the audience. And they threw it back. (snicker) Lupe responded to by saying that they should appreciate it because the hat was a limited edition something or other.

This to a crowd of 1) folks who spend their days collecting hyperstrike kicks, or 2) folks who actually make that “limited edition” streetwear. Oops.

Anyways, I just thought about that night because of the current Lupe-Gate fiasco happening right now at nahright, and okayplayer, hiphopdx and more, after Lupe forgot the lyrics to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” during their tribute on the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show.

Here’s the footage….

Not that big of a deal right? Lupe barely skipped a couple words. I was in the audience and I didnt even notice.

So the reason why Lupe played himself is not because he forgot the words. I’ve seen Rakim mess-up his own verse. Completely human, completely understandable and completely forgivable.

But once he got bashed by Tribe fans, he said this on Okayplayer:

I DID NOT GROW UP ON ATCQ!!!…”
THE LITTLE GHETTO KID FROM THE MEAN STREETS OF THE WESTSIDE OF CHICAGO GREW UP ON SPICE 1, 8-BALL & MJG, NWA AND SNOOP DOGG…
I WASNT A BACKPACKER RAP ENTHUSIAST!!!…I NEVER CLAIMED TO BE…I GREW UP ON GANGSTA RAP!!!
HAVE I LISTENED TO Midnight Marauders IN ITS ENTIRETY?…NO!!!…(Sorry Quest)…
GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSES AND YOUR SACRED COWS…SOME OF YA’LL MAKE ME SICK…
AND FYI WHEN IT WAS INITIALLY OFFERED TO ME I TURNED IT DOWN BECAUSE I FELT IT WAS OUT OF PLACE FOR ME TO BE HONORING THEM BECAUSE WHILE I WAS FULLY AWARE OF THEIR IMPACT IN HIP-HOP I WASNT REALLY AWARE OF THEIR MUSIC LIKE THAT…BUT GUESS WHO WANTED ME TO BE APART OF IT….HMMMM…HOW ABOUT…Q-TIP!!!…

Um…well, I dont think it’s a requirement for Lupe to know ATCQ’s Midnight Marauders album backwards and forwards. He could listen to it because it was an amazing album. But its not for us to say what he should or should not love. So I personally dont agree with most of the heated debate going on right now.

My only and emphatic point is this….

Lupe Fiasco does fresh raps. But Lupe’s defense in this situation is more offensive than his original “crime.” No matter if you grew up listening to Spice 1. No matter if your BFF Q-tip asked you to be in the tribute even though you didnt want to be (and had to be dragged…wait for it…kicking and pushing into it. I’m sorry). No matter if you dont know Tribe’s work like that.

It was one verse, on one song. How about just studying that enough to get it right for one night, on national TV, with all your peers (hey, if you werent so impressed that Phife was there despite battling major kidney failure…then look over there, Snoop and Ice-T! Are they thug enough for ya?)

Nelly even did the wop for Whodini.