Lupe Fiasco: “Shining Down” Breakdown (“You Goin’ Over Niggas’ Heads, Lu”)

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Look up in the sky.
Now look up in the sky.
Look up in the sky
You thought I was down.
You thought I was gone.
Thought I wasn’t around.
You thought I left you alone.
But look up in the sky.
Just look up in the sky.
See that I’m everywhere
Shining down on you.

[Verse #1:]
Well, well
Is that our little author?
Coming back; Humming his hymns, a little altered
Your attention, put back on the flow like the department of water
Taking off with the dough, like Little Walter
Chess? Yes. Baby, I’m Jerry Lawler
Rebel with a cause; outlaw with the lawyer
Judge, jury, like a loo;
Rap name Lupe, but my daddy named me Warrior
This is his memorial

The 1st verse finds Fiasco touching on his return because if you think about it, he has been on hiatus for a longer time period in comparison to the time between his 1st two albums. He’s back to put his twist back on hip hop and speak what needs to be spoken (“Coming back, humming his hymns, a little altered”, dope church references). He’s back to put our attention back on his flow like the water department’s attention is on the flow of water. He references Little Walter, a blues singer who used to be with Chess Records, but left (“taking off with the dough”) when it was discovered that Lou & Phil Chess, the owners of Chess Records, were allegedly stealing funds from their recording artists. It appears Lupe feels that Atlantic is doing the same (another Jay-Z attribute: subliminals). It would also seem that Lupe is staking his own claim as the king of this rap game (Jerry Lawler was a wrestler, quite frequently known as “The King”, which also ties into the “chess” line). The Jerry Lawler reference also ties into the next few lines as throughout his career, he was seen as a heel or bad guy (“rebel with a cause”) and he was known for going to court for his various divorces (“outlaw with the lawyer”). His rap name is “Lupe”, but his father named him “Wasulu“, which means “warrior”.

[Verse #2:]
[Auto-Tuned] No, I ain’t that nigga trying to get a liquor line
When I be scripting lines, want this petition signed
It says I’m sick of dying, sick of this prison time
I really love my people, I’m sick of pimping mine [Auto-Tuned]
Now if we autotune that shit
We can hear the songs from that opera groomed fat bitch
Telling us not to pursue it, just to shoo (shoe) it like a blacksmith
We’re trapped, and moving round in circles like it’s chapstick
And that’s the same encircled way of thinking that we chat with
We’ll wrap this, around your, head like the bandanas Fabolous
Used to wrap his hats with
Rather be in F.E.D.S. instead of National Geographics
Well, I’m not having it

The first couple of lines are merged with auto-tune, which is Lupe’s way of saying that if important lines are immersed in auto-tune, the true message will never be discovered and it will be the end (the fat lady singing (“the opera-groomed fat bitch”)) of hip hop. His return is spawned by his desire to contribute to hip hop and wrap his message around minds (“like the bandanas Fabolous used to wrap his hats with”) unlike the music that has been around in his absence. It is his plan to rebel against these popular trends in rap music as he feels people would rather read FEDS magazine, a magazine that glorifies rappers and gives breakdowns on gangs & inner-city violence, instead of educational material like National Geographic.

[Verse #3:]
So, I say hello and this is for the third time
To everybody out there who ain’t never heard mine
And if you have, then you know you ain’t never heard lying
Lu don’t move no cowards, you only heard lines
Not a facade cherisher, I’d rather have the scars
I don’t idolize America, I’m dancing with the stars
Uh huh. All of them? Yea, they are, too.
You look up and you see us shining down on you.

In the final verse, he reintroduces himself for the third time (3rd LP, 3rd verse of this record), speaking to new fans and those who have been with him since the start. He is not one to tell lies nor put them in his records. The next line can be interpreted in a variety of ways (with a subtle Cowardly Lion (Wizard of Oz) reference thrown in):

“Lu don’t move (moo), no cowards (cow-words/cow-herds), you’ve only heard (heard) lines (lions)”

The lion/lying theme throughout the song is also a subtle dedication to Lupe’s father, Gregory Hamza Jaco (“Hamza” means lion in Arabic and the last thing Lupe’s father told him was “not to lie, tell Wasulu to tell the truth”. He doesn’t hide nor accept facades as he’d rather have “the scars” (which also a play on the word “disguise”) and finally, he completes the verse (and song) with two references to two world famous talent competition (American Idol & Dancing With The Stars).

~ Signed, The Greatest Rapper Alive (Lupe Fiasco’s L.a.s.e.r.s., in stores this December)

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