Despite slurs, Lupe is no Fiasco

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Finding a successful headliner for Spring Fling is no easy task. Yalies demand a lot from the performer: excitement, big name, high energy, impeccable performance, danceability. And, after all initial doubts, Lupe Fiasco exceeded expectations, ensuring that this year’s Spring Fling was a success.

The set itself was nothing short of spectacular. Fiasco involved the Yale population, bringing up a student dressed in a full-body orange suit, dedicating a song to “the ladies” and commenting on our hard-partying ways. His set intertwined old classics with songs from his new album “Lasers” and kept the concert at high energy. Fiasco perfectly timed crowd favorites, performing “Superstar” and “The Show Goes On” to re-energize the crowd at points where the concert could have gone downhill.

I may only be a freshman, but I had heard stories about last year’s Fling and the fiasco that was MGMT. Slow slongs and a weak performance dashed the crowd’s expectations — almost the exact opposite of the Lupe Experience.

Like many people, I had reservations about the lineup. Lupe’s college tour — he performed at the University of Pennsylvania last week — could have made the concert seem almost impersonal. But from the moment he got on stage, he dispelled these fears by bringing a unique feel to his set and a high energy level. Many in the audience seemed to feel the same way I did; concert-goers were perched atop shoulders, almost everyone was dancing, and nearly all sentiments ran high (the rest were tainted by alcohol).

The lowpoints of Fiasco’s performance were the comments he made in between his songs. The first thing that he said upon getting on stage was, “I know half of you is privileged rich kids.” Um, really? Aren’t most of us on financial aid?

At one point, Lupe challenged the DJ on stage to a competition to see whose side of the crowd was more enthusiastic. Even then, he referred to his side as the “richer” and “more privileged” one. I don’t care how big of a deal Lupe is; it was inappropriate for him to make an assumption about the students here, especially one that is so clearly untrue.

But his thoughts about the student body were some of the least poignant remarks that he made. Lupe went on a self-proclaimed “political rant” where he declared his support for the Libyan revolution, while simultaneously shooting down the United States’ involvement in Libya, stating, “You’re not spreading democracy by shooting people.”

He then proceeded to declare his love for the gays, the socialists, and people who support democracy and “anything else you believe.” His openness and seeming tolerance was met with cheers, but the tide quickly turned when Fiasco stated his love for his “friends in Palestine.” The pro-Palestinian agenda was met with boos and negativity from the audience (at least towards the front where I was standing). He tried to recover by turning back to more popular beliefs, but the crowd’s rancor was so alcohol-induced that even if he had left it alone, it probably would have had the same effect.

His rhetoric soon turned negative, as he publicly condemned “Nazis” and “Aryans.” This sentiment was well received, and his popularity was restored. Fancy political footwork to win back the Jews, Lupe. (I guess he forgot how much of the Yale population we compose.) He also encouraged Yalies to do something good with our education, advising students not to “abuse people’s money” and making various references to the evils of Goldman Sachs.

This rant was followed by a seamless transition into “The Show Goes On.”

While many of Lupe’s statements were inappropriate, he gave the student body some much-needed advice amid the politics: “Don’t stress out over school so much. This is college, have fun.”

Thanks, Lupe. I’ll keep that in mind during finals week.

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