Are you that guy who sits in the corner of the bar, desperately wishing for the guts to get up on stage to try your hand-or rather, voice-at karaoke? Do you down glasses of liquid courage one after the other just to pass out before it’s your turn at the mic?‚ 

We have good news for you. iNiS along with Microsoft Game Studios has been developing an answer to your woes in the form of the forthcoming karaoke video game “Lips,” to be released only on XBox 360 November 21.

We first encountered Lips at E3 in July.

Described as “Guitar Hero, only with a mic,” not only can you connect to your iPod or other mp3 player to sing along to your own tunes, but the game also features the songs of several popular and critically-acclaimed artists including Duffy’s “Mercy” and Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar”.‚ 

Blast Magazine recently got the chance to speak to Lupe Fiasco, whose concept album “The Cool” went certified gold, selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S. Fiasco dished about his part in the game as well as some of his current projects.‚ 

Kellen: How did you get involved with the game, and what was your reaction to being asked to perform?‚ 

Lupe: Uh, I got approached by XBox, Microsoft, actually a while back when they were kind of developing the game out. What struck me most, more than like you know, “come be in a game,, you know, “here’s a little money for you,” whatever — it was that the caliber of artist that they were putting me with to be kinda the initial roll-out, to actually instill the game and sell it, was dope. People like Duffy, and I was like wow, Duffy, and I went, she’s big and dope. And it made me just feel big and dope. It made me feel like, oh, I’m a somebody. Yay! [laughs]‚ 

Kellen: Are you a gamer yourself?‚ 

Lupe: Uh, avid. Avid gamer. A lot of role-playing games, fighting games. Street Fighter 2 is like my favorite game in the world.‚ ‚ 

Kellen: Let’s turn to your music for a moment. You’re quite well-known for dealing with some tough issues in your music. Are those issues part of what inspires you as an artist?‚ 

Lupe: Yeah, very much so. You know, you gotta talk about something. I know how to talk about just about anything, so you have to kind of find out the right thing to talk about. I pull a lot from things going on in the world, social issues, things I can help with or affect, and really actually bring that stuff to my audience, which is where I came from, people who listen to me and who don’t know what’s going on Russia, going on Uganda or what have you. How do I take those issues, transform them, and package them in a way where my hip-hop family or hip-hop base, you know, can understand it and participate in everything else going on in the world.‚ 

Kellen: Your last album “The Cool” was obviously a huge success and I know you’ve mentioned before that you’re interested in expanding its concept into other media, like a comic book. Have you given that any more thought?‚ 

Lupe: Initially when we first started, like you know the album is kinda based on these different characters, and a little plot line and a little storyline, and we just started to develop all types of crazy ideas. We actually did a little video game that you can play on my website. We’re doing a vintage radio show, like an old Vincent Price radio show from the forties. We’re planning a movie, a comic book, a clothing line, BMX bikes-anything and everything under the sun across mediums to tell the story. I just thought it was a dope story, like a hustler who gets killed and comes back to life and you know, has all these troubles going on. It’s really fresh.‚ 

Kellen: Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on.‚ 

Lupe: Yeah. [laughs]‚ 

Kellen: Last year you started the group Child Rebel Soldiers along with Kanye West and Pharrell. Do you have any plans to do any more music with them, because I know you did the single US Placers which was obviously a hit. Do you have any more ideas for that group?‚ ‚ 

Lupe: We’re all on the Glow in the Dark tour together, including Rihanna, with Kanye. Uh, and while we’re on tour we’re coming up with ideas, and different ways to do music and fashion and art and kind of everything. So yeah, we’re still working on it. It’s kind of like our little pet project.‚ 

Kellen:‚ What are some of your favorite artists to worth with besides Kanye and Pharrell and some of those other guys?‚ 

Lupe:‚ Well I worked with Patrick Strump of Fall Out Boy. Fall Out Boy’s pretty cool. Jill Scott, who’s pretty amazing. Anybody that’s kinda like, you wouldn’t expect me go out and work with. You know for like the Superstar remix, like Jeezy and T.I. Any way that I can kinda push the envelope and kinda hit you where you’re not expecting me to hit you at. I really just kinda go for it.‚ 

Kellen: Do you have any ideas at the moment for your follow-up to “The Cool?”‚ 

Lupe: Yes.‚ 

Kellen: [laughs] Is that all I’m gonna get?‚ 

Lupe: May 2009. Stay tuned.

About The Author

Kellen Rice is an editor-at-large. You may love her or hate her. Follow Kellen on Twitter!

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