4 Things I Learned From Starring In A Lupe Fiasco Video That Was Never Released
Back in 2006, I starred in a Lupe Fiasco music video that never was released! Here’s 4 things I learned….
Over 10 years ago, I played the lead in the video The Instrumental off Lupe’s first album “FOOD AND LIQUOR”. This song is more relevant today than ever and if you have time I would recommend a listen. But let me take you back to 2006, the Chicago scene was on FIRE very similar to today’s Hip Hop scene. Kanye had put the city on the map and it seemed like everyone was blowing up, getting signed or finding a way out. Lupe was just getting his moment with his debut album and at the time I was a very green, hardworking, young artist just trying to find some sort of break or connection. I was finishing up my debut album UNTIED (https://goo.gl/ufyCC6), playing various shows around the city trying to make my mark and figure out this crazy business.
I met Chris Adams through a mutual friend. He directed Lupe’s video for Kick Push, which won MTV’s hip hop video of the year. He was one of the biggest parts of the Chicago music scene and I was honored and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this video. The experience was fantastic. I learned an incredible amount while on set, I asked a billion questions, pushed myself and was part of an epic video. I played a media addict. Addicted to the BOX aka TV. If you watch it now (below) it’s basically about how we all look while staring at our smart phones. The song was ahead of its time.
After the video was wrapped a few things crossed my mind. Lupe wasn’t in this video. So, I never had a chance to meet the rapper. At the time, I was pretty bummed about it. As an indie artist looking to build relationships it was a disappointment. A few weeks later I got the word that the video had been shelved because the label didn’t want to pay to promote another single. I was bummed. You have to remember this was pre-YouTube so having the exposure of millions of views on MTV, MTV2, BET could have been big for an artist like me. I could have used that as a chip to open a few doors. At least that was my mind state at the time 🙂 (Remember I was green)
But now as an older artist in the game. A vet. Whose played shows with everyone from The Roots to G Eazy. I look back with nothing but fond memories of moment that propelled my journey. I learned many lessons from that video. Here are 4 of them:
1. NETWORK (BUT DON’T BE A SCUMBAG) – Don’t just target one person to network with. Be genuine or better yet don’t try to use people. Most successful people can sniff that out and will stay away from you. I formed relationships with many people on that set, including Chris who I check in with from time to time but I especially bonded with the DP Courtney Harris. We stayed in touch and a few months later we were talking about how we could work together a shot my first video. In 2007, we shoot a video for my song video Dear Shooter which changed my life, got me enormous press, countless shows, opportunities to work with non-violence nonprofits and it even played on MTV2/MTVJams. The video is on YouTube now if you get a second check it out. It’s a powerful message about GUN VIOLENCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTBStWcv5r0
2. DO IT. EVEN IF IT SCARES THE SH*T OUT OF YOU – I had no real acting experience and to be honest I was scared shitless to do this role. I didn’t want to blow the video. I didn’t want to fail. We all have moments that make us weak in the knees. Have a little faith in yourself and push through it. It’s never as bad as your FEAR makes it in your mind. So, push yourself TODAY so you can live the life you want tomorrow.
3. BE GRATEFUL – While the video was never officially released and I never met Lupe on set to this day I’m eternally grateful to Chris, Courtney and all the people involved in the video. It’s part of my story and lead me to the place I am today. I even saved my outfit from the set as something I can look back on when I’m 80.
4. FORGET BIG BREAKS. ENJOY THE JOURNEY – For anyone perusing your dream. Your career is a series of ups and downs. Big breaks and big busts. Big moments and quiet moments. But the journey is ongoing and all of it is AMAZING! I’ve been signed. Dropped. Broke records that played on the radio. Wrote a TV Theme song. I’ve been on MTV2. I’ve been on almost every major music blog, indie music blog, I’ve seen news casters sing my songs live on TV, I’ve had crazy fan mail, I’ve had some pretty great moments. All these moments feel like your big break and many times they aren’t as BIG as you dreamed. Don’t be discouraged. It all adds up so keep pushing and enjoy the journey.
P.S. – HAPPY ENDING: A few months later I ran into Lupe at the movie theater on Roosevelt. He was right behind me coming up the escalator and we were both with our dates. I quickly turned around, introduced myself as the guy who just starred in his video The Instrumental. He took a hard look, laughed and was like oh yeah man that is you. That’s dope. Thanks for being a part of my video. We shook hands and parted ways. So, there’s that 🙂
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