Lupe Fiasco’s “Mission” to empower cancer patients

On Monday Lupe Fiasco dropped the first official single to his new album Tetsuo & Youth (it’s Lupe, the Akira reference is intentional).  Titled “Mission”, Lupe explores the journey and battle of dealing with cancer- not exactly comment territory for hip-hop. Opening with first-hand testimonials from cancer survivors, including singer Charlie Wilson (who also sings the hook), the song doesn’t hold back from dumping a bucket of cold water on the listener within it’s first moments. The song serves as both a battle cry for cancer patients struggling with their diagnosis and a wake-up call to the rest of the world- this killer isn’t going away until humanity silences it for good. 

She’s gonna live forever even though the doctors say she’ll only get a month“, Lupe spits with intensity reminiscent of 2007’s The Cool. “Yeah-seven-years-old-with-stage-four-this-what-champions-were-made-for“, he continues in the next verse, switching perspectives from a woman with breast cancer to a child with lymphoma.

Cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the United States, taking over 600,000 lives each year and Lupe seeks to remind us of this cold reality. -and though he is no stranger to releasing socially conscious songs, the rapper was actually inspired by an impromptu visit to the Lurie Cancer Center made when performing at Northwestern University in his home city of Chicago. Lupe’s YouTube page further elaborates with this description of the track:

“Mission” is a track to empower those facing cancer, revere cancer survivors and remember those who have passed to due to cancer related illnesses. With an inspiring introduction from various cancer survivors telling their story, anchored by legendary singer/songwriter and cancer survivor Charlie Wilson, “Mission” has Lupe Fiasco expressing stories of the emotional burden of cancer, while also working to uplift those in an effort to help fight the disease. In support of “Mission,” Lupe has joined Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a grassroots movement to raise funds to accelerate the pace of cancer research, as a celebrity ambassador. Together, Lupe and Stand Up To Cancer are planning various collaborations tied to the track that will be unveiled later this year.

Lupe closes the track with what seems to be an account of a husband and father facing death, reminding those who struggle with the disease to stay strong and fight back, no matter how bleak the diagnosis may be.

“Went undiagnosed and untreated
When they finally found it told ’em
It’s too far along and he couldn’t beat it
But he couldn’t see it
Miss me with that dead talk
Miss me, my legs walk
And my heart beats and my wife witness
So fuck cancer, my life with me
And if I died it’d die with me
Let’s do it.”

It’s no light subject and I can’t help but wonder how it will fare on the charts, but I truly appreciate the blunt and personal approach Lupe Fiasco takes to the issue.

I have personally seen cancer take someone close to me- a health-conscious and active man, an incredible father and husband who exhibited strength and bravery unlike anything I could have ever imagined. It can happen to absolutely anyone. Knowing that there are thousands of other men, women and children facing the same battle every single day is a scary and sobering thought that cannot be ignored.

I’m realize I’m only a geeky blogger here, but I want to urge anyone reading this to help these brave human-beings by making even a small donation at any of the websites listed below.