This week marks the 10-year anniversary of Lupe Fiasco’s debut studio album Food & Liquor—a critically and commercially successful project that gave us hits like “Kick, Push,” “I Gotcha,” and the Grammy award-winning “Daydreamin.” In celebration of the album’s anniversary, the Chicago rapper has released “Ten Yurrs Layda,” an hour-long audio recording in which he shares his memories about the project’s release.
Before he gets into it, Lupe drops a disclaimer, admitting the time surrounding Food & Liquor’s release was fuzzy, and that “there might be a lot of myth” in his story, and “stuff that’s just kind of made up on the fly.” Regardless, his account is a must-hear for any fan, especially for those who’ve followed him from the beginning.
The first topic at hand is the album’s iconic cover, created by Chuck Anderson of No Pattern. The imagery, Lupe says, was inspired by the work of Japanese manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo, who is known for his use of light slices like the one seen on Food & Liquor’s cover art. He talks about the cover’s floating objects—things like a Nintendo DS, a Quran, a sketchbook, a Banksy postcard, and a toy robot—explaining the significance of each (well, at least the ones he can remember). Because there is so much to cover, the bulk of Lupe’s narrative focuses on the album art, but we’re not complaining. He also covers the liner notes, explaining the inspiration behind the imagery, which included a drive-by scene that replaced books with guns.
Lupe goes on to talk about Jay Z’s role as the album’s executive producer, and how many alterations were made to the album before it was released. “We had Food & Liquor for a while,” he said. “When I look at this, it’s funny how much stuff is missing. We did a joint with Triple Six Mafia that didn’t make it because they sold the beat to, at the time was, the Playaz Circle.”
He also said the first version of “I Gotcha” did not include any work by Pharrell Williams; “Kick Push II” was originally produced by JLack, Usher’s little brother; and there are multiple versions of “The Cool” floating around.
Other highlights in the recording include his collaboration with Jill Scott, why he wanted to feature an “Outro,” the album’s impressive reviews, and the impact it has had today. Be sure to listen to the end when Lupe previews a new track that will hopefully make an appearance on one of his three upcoming albums. You can listen to “Ten Yurrs Layda” below.