Okay, this is the first Black Witch Public Service Announcement. Don’t expect many of these but they’ll come up when something important happens and can’t fit within the usual Black Witch posting schedule. The regular Black Witch post “Mental Mentality” is beneath this BW PSA post.

I’m not very sure how many of my readers are aware of the issue regarding Lupe Fiasco’s newest album being put on the shelf by Atlantic records but you can read about it on the site Fiasco Friday, as well as get information about the protest against Atlantic Records on Oct 15 in NYC. Now, while some of you may think it is ridiculous to have petition and protest for an album, I can understand why and even support it. Lupe Fiasco is one of the best emcees we have of this generation and he is the embodiment of what true hip hop is: the voice of the Black conscious and political enlightenment to and from the most marginalized voices in the world. Hip hop is not at heart what it is depicted in the mainstream today, as rubbish and all the worst Black stereotypes combined. Hip hop is art, it is a culture and it is a political movement. Lupe Fiasco embodies all of this, the art, the culture and the politics. Listening to him is being aware of the world around you. You’re not listening to another track dehumanizing women or blatant nihilism, Lupe is a very positive artist and inside a genre so deluded with machine-made negativity at that. I can’t think of many artists out there to match and the ones that I can are mainly stifled on the radio in favor for more base and minstrel-like entertainment.

Lupe Fiasco is one of the few artists who actually cares about the music more than the money. There’s nothing wrong with showing heart about something you care for but I do have issue when the responses are heartless. On the Black Witch twitter, I got to read some very discouraging comments from people discussing Lupe’s responses about the whole matter – and the fact that he’s Muslim (I’ll touch on that later) on his twitter. Needless to say, I am a bit incensed by the whole situation. I was going to discuss Fiasco Friday next week (and I shall) but I felt this needed to be said now.

The music industry is a very complicated industry and to an outsider, it looks oh so simplistic. You take an artist (who looks like they can sell), sign ‘em, record ‘em, shell out an album, have expensive tours, go on BET and VH1, and do it all over again like magic. Not that easy. There are talks, investors, contract obligations, considerations of commercial appeal and most important of all (for the music execs) – how to reel in as many dollars as possible and consistently, especially in a time and era where the music industry biggest threat and competitor is the internet. Quality sells but quantity sells more, just shell out some chart-toppers with a catchy beat and collect money. The music sucks but hey, that’s not what these execs are in the business for. It’s a lot more to putting out an album than just spitting into a microphone. Once an album is cut and finished, it’s put in the record label hands to decide what to do with it next. Sometimes it gets pushed out quick but sometimes it gets shelved – not because the powers that be don’t believe that it’s a poor record, no no, they just believe it won’t dredge them enough money because there’s not enough commercial appeal or too risky. They’re not concerned with causing a revolution or delivering good music, they’re concerned with you staying firmly attached at the wallet. So an album like Lasers will get shelved (despite Lupe’s accomplishments) but an album that talks about nothing but murder, women and sex rolls out ever so easily because it has a wider commercial appeal. In short, Lupe can’t just up and release a new album just because he wants to, he has a record company to deal with and they’re the ones holding things up.

This protest is to put some pressure on that record company to speak up because so far, they have not given any reasons whatsoever to as why they have shelved the album and to let the album actually drop. I know I wanna hear it, Lupe is amazing and I recommend everyone else to listen to him a little bit as well – especially the song “Dumb it Down”.

I featured his side project Japanese Cartoon in August The Arts but here’s his official site as well. If you support his music – and I recommend that you do – please do sign the petition to show your support but also if you are in the NYC area or can get there on Oct 15th, attend the demonstration. I may not be there but I know Lupe Fiasco will be. All details for the protest is on FiascoFriday.com. Please comment or tweet me @thisblackwitch if you have signed the petition or will go.

As for the fact that he’s Muslim – does it really matter that much to you? Instead of bristling, listen to what Lupe has to say about his religion. He really presents it well, just like Busta Rhymes, Mos Def and Talib Kweli.

You may now proceed to your originally scheduled post: Mental Mentality