The Amer­i­can rap­per learned about the Malaysian hip-hop scene from Joe Fl­iz­zow.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - Ques­tions with Lupe Fi­asco By KEN­NETH CHAW en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

DID you know that along with be­ing an ac­claimed rap­per, Lupe Fi­asco has four black belts – in karate, Chi­nese wushu and two Sa­mu­rai sword styles?

“My fa­ther ran a mar­tial arts school, it was a fam­ily busi­ness. That’s where I’d be three times a week for years. So, it’s very much a part of me,” says the 36-year-old Amer­i­can

rap­per in a phone in­ter­view with Star2. Fi­asco, who earned his first black belt in karate at 11, says pick­ing up mar­tial arts at a young age taught him a great deal about dis­ci­pline and re­spon­si­bil­ity. In doc­u­men­tary se­ries Beat N Path, the Amer­i­can rap­per trav­els to var­i­ous parts of China to train un­der kungfu masters.

“We would train at dif­fer­ent train­ing halls with masters spe­cial­is­ing in spe­cific styles. Fo rexam ple, we went to Dengfeng to learn Shaolin kungfu. We would learn the ba­sic form as well as dis­cover the his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural as­pect of it,” he ex­plains. At the same time, Fi­asco, who came into the spot light around 2008 a fter the suc­cess of his sin­gle Su­per­star, seeks to learn about China’s hip hop scene.

“When­ever I travel around the world, I’m al­ways in­ter­ested in the lo­cal hip-hop scene. Who’s the No.1 rap­per ? What do the con­certs look like? What are you guys rap­ping about?” he adds.

Fi­asco even teamed up with pro­duc­ers in Bei­jing to doc­u­ment the jour­ney in rap.

1 .What was the most dif­fi­cult mar­tial arts train­ing you had to en­dure on Beat N Path?

I went to learn in­ter­nal mar­tial arts. It’s not re­ally for com­bat, it’s for health.

There was this one stance I had to get into. From far, it looks like I’m just stand­ing there but there’s th­ese mi­cro ad­just­ments I had to do. My knees are a lit­tle bent, my hands point in gout a lit­tle bit, and my head has to be aligned to my belly but ton and my feet. There’s so much attention to de­tails.

And when you’ve got the stance, you have to stay in it, you can’t move. If it was an ac­tual class, you have to stay in the stance for two hours.

Through­out my jour­ney, I did a lot of hard­core com­bat train­ing but that one stance was like the hard­est thing out of ev­ery­thing (I have learned).

2. Part of the show also ex­plores the hip-hop scene in China. Are you aware of China’s ban on hip-hop from TV last Jan­uary?

I think all around the world at dif­fer­ent points, there was some kind of cen­sor­ship on hip-hop. There was cen­sor­ship on hip-hop in the States ... I think hip-hop al­ways kind of speaks truth to the power, it’s kind of a re­bel­lious cul­ture and it’s an art­form.

I’m not say­ing (be­ing banned) is some­thing it has to go through, but his­tory has shown that it has.

Whether it’s hip-hop, punk rock, disco or rock ‘n’ roll, peo­ple (from all walks of life) are go­ing to take of­fence or feel a cer­tain way be­cause it goes against what they be­lieve or stand for.

3. Beat N Path is pro­duced by a Hong Kong pro­duc­tion com­pany you co-founded. Why did you de­cide to ven­ture into Asia?

I’ve worked in the United States for 15 to 20 years. Some­times you just want to ex­pe­ri­ence new cul­tures to get in­spired and hope­fully, get new ideas. And the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self.

We do a lot of stuff in the States as well. Just with the na­ture of be­ing head­quar­ted in Asia, we have a lot of in­ter­est in Asia.

But we’re also in­ter­ested in do­ing pro­grammes that touch peo­ple all around the world. Whether you’re in Malaysia or Ice­land, we want to make con­tent and pro­duce shows that’s en­ter­tain­ing and en­gag­ing around the world.

4. Speak­ing of Malaysia, you vis­ited Kuala Lumpur re­cently?

I was in Malaysia to do some pre-pro­mo­tion for Beat N Path. I met up with Joe (Fl­iz­zow) and he took me around. I learned a lot about the coun­try from him. He was a good tour guide.

The next time when I come back, I’m go­ing to join him on his show, 16 Baris, which fea­tures rap­pers from around the re­gion com­ing to­gether to do a freestyle ses­sion. It’ll be cool.

5. What did Joe Fl­iz­zow teach you about the Malaysian hip-hop scene?

We had a nice long con­ver­sa­tion about hiphop in Malaysia and around South-East Asia.

He gave me the his­tory of things like pan­tun and some of the old tra­di­tions of Malaysia. And with the dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups liv­ing here, how that in­flu­ences hip-hop mu­sic in Malaysia to­day.

How peo­ple draw from the past and fil­ter it through hip-hop to cre­ate some­thing new and sort of tra­di­tional too. And how rap­pers are more com­fort­able rap­ping in their own lan­guage, like in Malay, and not cater to Western sen­si­bil­i­ties.

Beat N Path airs ev­ery Thurs­day at 9pm on Kix HD (As­tro Ch 729).

Photo: Hand­out

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