By David Arredondo
This is the opening line of Wasalu “Lupe Fiasco” Jaco’s first single off his upcoming fourth studio album. The aptly titled single, “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” was released on May 21 and is the Atlantic Records artist’s take on what he sees as wrong with America–past and present.
Since his debut in 2006, the rapper whose stage name is Lupe Fiasco has included his stance on social, political, religious and other worldly issues in his lyrics. This time he points out the historical and contemporary injustices done to the Oglala Lakota Nation.
Fiasco, an African American, mentions in his song the 5 million cans of beer sold annually at the Pine Ridge Reservation border town of Whiteclay, Neb. According to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s website, there were over 400,000 gallons of alcohol consumed–roughly 4.2 million 12-ounce cans of beer–during 2011 by Pine Ridge residents who had purchased the brew in Whiteclay, so he’s not far off. Fiasco also brings up the topic of Indian gaming in his lyrics.
Hip Hop Star Lupe Fiasco Visits Pine Ridge and Whiteclay
The visit was preceded by little (if any) fanfare—on Sunday afternoon, Fiasco’s Twitter followers received the following tweet:
“Guess where I am??? Me and @StringBizness on a Road Trip to say ‘Peace 2 Pine Ridge’ in person… ”
He proceeded to snap a few photos and make further comments, although he does not seem to have made any publicity or promotional appearance on the rez.