SOURCE: Atlantic Records

April 25, 2008 17:14 ET

"LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL" Earns RIAA Gold; Critically Acclaimed MC Celebrates With Major North American Tour Supporting Kanye West; "Superstar" Continues to Shine as New Single, "Hip-Hop Saved My Life," Is Readied for May Impact; Grammy-Winning "Daydreamin'" Currently Featured in AT&T's "Celebrate Spring" TV Promotion

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - April 25, 2008) - "LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL," the chart-topping second album from 1st & 15th/Atlantic recording artist Lupe Fiasco, has been certified gold by the RIAA for sales exceeding 500,000. The critically acclaimed album -- which features the hit singles, "Superstar (Feat. Matthew Santos)" and "Hip-Hop Saved My Life (Feat. Nikki Jean)" -- debuted on Billboard's "Top Rap Albums" chart at #1 upon its December 2007 release, and remained in the peak position for nine weeks.

In February, the Chicago-based MC earned his first-ever Grammy Award, bringing home the "Best Urban/Alternative Performance" trophy for last year's smash, "Daydreamin' (Feat. Jill Scott)." The track is now being featured in AT&T's national "Celebrate Spring" ad campaign.

"Superstar (Feat. Matthew Santos)," the first single/video from "LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL," is without doubt one of 2008's foremost hits, maintaining its top 20 status on this week's Billboard "Hot 100." The track is also a top 10 sensation on the "Hot Rap Tracks" ranking, while still standing strong on a variety of other charts, including "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs" and "Hot Digital Songs." What's more, "Superstar" continues to score at radio, where it remains a top 20 favorite on both the CHR/Top 40 and Rhythmic airplay charts. The track is also drawing significant play at Urban outlets nationwide. The "Superstar" companion video -- directed by the great Hype Williams -- remains a hugely popular clip at all music video outlets, including MTV, BET, Fuse, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV TR3S, VH1 Soul, the N, and MUN2.

"Hip-Hop Saved My Life (Feat. Nikki Jean)," the album's latest single/video, is slated to impact at multi-format radio outlets across the country in late May. It has already been added into rotation at the biggest hip-hop radio station in the country, New York's Hot 97. The track's companion video -- directed by Dr. Teeth (T.I., Paul Wall, Mike Jones) -- is already in play across the MTV spectrum, including MTV2, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, mtvU, and FUSE. The clip, which features a cameo appearance from rap icon Bun B, is now in "Up To The RC" rotation at BET, where Lupe recently made a stellar live appearance as part of the network's annual Spring Bling coverage. "Hip-Hop Saved My Live" is also a top 10 success at BETJ.

In addition to his recent performance on BET, Lupe has made a variety of high-profile TV appearances in recent months, performing live on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," CBS' "Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson," ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," NBC's "Last Call with Carson Daly," NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," PBS' "Tavis Smiley," MTV's "TRL," and the syndicated "Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Surely one of hip-hop's most electrifying and active live performers, Lupe is currently on a major North American tour, supporting his longtime friend and associate Kanye West on his blockbuster "Glow In The Dark Tour." The trek is now lighting up arenas across the continent, with dates continuing through a June 13th finale at Cincinnati's US Bank Arena (see below itinerary). That very same day will see Lupe playing an additional set in Manchester, Tennessee at the Bonnaroo Music festival.

Full details of all upcoming shows can be found at Lupe's official MySpace page, www.myspace.com/lupefiasco. Lupe maintains a vibrant online presence, including his own LupeFiasco.com (recently updated with a wide range of interactive features such as "THE COOLest" video game). Also, Lupe's very own YouTube channel -- located at www.youtube.com/lupefiasco -- has logged millions of plays, with videos including "Superstar," "Paris, Tokyo," and the banging street anthem, "Dumb It Down."

Lupe Fiasco has quickly established himself as among the most compelling and creative artists of the era, offering a rare combination of complex, thought-provoking lyricism coupled with sure-fire beats. "LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL" sees the critically acclaimed rapper following up on 2006's breakthrough, Grammy-nominated debut, "LUPE FIASCO'S FOOD & LIQUOR," by kicking and pushing against the boundaries of modern hip-hop. Loosely structured as a multi-character concept album detailing the "damaging influences" and "corrupt allure" of post-millennial Urban America, the set features such special guests as the one-and-only Snoop Dogg, with diverse and inventive production from Soundtrakk, UNKLE, Chris & Drop, and Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump.

The MC first made himself known with his featured appearance on Kanye West's hit single, "Touch The Sky," followed by the anthemic hit single, "Kick, Push." As a result, "LUPE FIASCO'S FOOD & LIQUOR" debuted on Billboard's "Top Rap Albums" chart at #1 upon its September 2006 release, while also entering the Billboard 200 at #8.

The 25-year-old rapper soon proved to be the year's biggest hip-hop breakthrough, garnering a trio of 2006 Grammy Award nominations, including "Best Rap Album," "Best Rap Song," and "Best Rap Solo Performance." Other honors include his being named one of Rolling Stone's "10 Artists To Watch 2006" as well as GQ's 2006 "Breakout Man of the Year," not to mention an array of nominations from the BET Hip Hop Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, the mtvU Woodie Awards, and the Soul Train Music Awards.

"LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL" drew instant critical acclaim upon its December release, coming in at #10 on Entertainment Weekly's "The Best" list for 2007 -- no mean feat considering the album was released with just two weeks left in the year. The album "recalls (Kanye) West's pop versatility and positive flair," EW declared, adding, "Fiasco seems ready to join his former mentors in the big leagues." The New York Times was equally effusive, calling "LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL" "one of the year's best hip-hop albums." USA Today awarded the album four stars, praising it as "a 19-track gem that showcases (Fiasco's) intricate wordplay on everything from the rap industry and celebrity life to gun-toting youth and sexual violence."

Online outlets were also quick to commend the collection, with Pitchfork giving it an 8.1 rating, declaring it "sprawling, grandiose." "Lupe Fiasco is undoubtedly one of 'The Coolest' rappers to come along in the last ten years," noted RapReviews.com in a 10-out-of-10 rave. HipHopDX.com rated "LUPE FIASCO'S THE COOL" 4.5-out-of-5 Xs, pointing out that the set "proves that 'FOOD & LIQUOR' was no accident and it's quite possible that the best has yet to come." "Lupe demonstrates an innate virtuosity in his brainy approach to an often over simplified craft," hailed AllHipHop.com in its 8-out-of-10 starred review, while Yo! Raps awarded the album 5-out-of-5 stars, explaining that it "has pushed the genre of hip hop music into a place where no emcee or artist will be able to lead hip hop into for awhile."

Among Lupe's biggest fans are hip-hop's best and brightest stars, including Jay-Z, who told Blender that, "I love Lupe. He's a genius writer." What's more, the legendary Rakim -- without question one of rap's all-time greatest talents -- recently named Lupe as his favorite current MC, explaining that "there's still a lot of artists and a lot of songs out there that's good for you and still sound like that real hip-hop. The positive rap doesn't get as much coverage as the negative rap, but people (like Lupe Fiasco) are trying to get back around to the lyrical stuff."

For more information, please visit www.myspace.com/lupefiasco, www.lupefiasco.com and http://lupefiasco.imeem.com.

(TOUR ITINERARY BELOW)

                       LUPE FIASCO

                       ON TOUR 2008

   All Dates w/Kanye West's "Glow In The Dark Tour" Except *

April
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25    Las Vegas, NV             Red Rocks Casino Resort
26    Albuquerque, NM           Journal Pavilion
27    Denver, CO                Pepsi Arena
29    Oklahoma City, OK         Ford Center Arena
30    Austin, TX                Frank Irwin Center

May
---
1     Dallas, TX                Superpages.com Center
2     Houston, TX               Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
3     New Orleans, LA           House of Blues *
4     Atlanta, GA               The Arena @ Gwinnett Center
5     Tampa, FL                 Ford Amphitheatre
6     Miami, FL                 American Airlines Arena
8     Charlotte, NC             Time Warner Cable Arena
9     Raleigh, NC               Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
10    Washington, DC            Nissan Pavilion
11    Virginia Beach, VA        Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
13    New York, NY              Madison Square Garden
13    New York, NY              S.O.B.s *
15    Boston, MA                Tweeter Center
16    Hartford, CT              New England Dodge Music Center
17    Philadelphia, PA          Susquehanna Bank Center
18    Scranton, PA              Toyota Pavilion
20    Montreal, QC              Bell Centre
21    Toronto, ON               Molson Amphitheatre
22    Detroit, MI               Palace of Auburn Hills
23    Chicago, IL               United Center
24    Chicago, IL               United Center
24    Fargo, ND                 Fargodome
26    Manitoba, AB              MTS Centre
27    Saskatoon, AB             Credit Union Centre
29    Edmonton, AB              Rexall Place
30    Calgary, AB               Pengrowth Saddledome

June
----
2     Vancouver, BC             GM Palace
3     Portland, OR              Rose Garden Arena
5     Reno, NV                  Reno Events Center
6     San Jose, CA              HP Pavilion
7     Los Angeles, CA           Staples Center
8     Glendale, AZ              Jobing.com Arena
9     Salt Lake City, UT        E Center
11    Minneapolis, MN           Target Center
12    Moline, IL                i wireless Center
13    Manchester, TN            Bonnaroo Music Festival *
13    Cincinnati, OH            US Bank Arena

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