Chicago native Lupe Fiasco (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) riled up The Riviera Theatre (4746 N. Racine Ave.) for a full performance of his debut album “Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor.” Fans sang, swayed and bounced for the rapper’s first time playing the 2006 album in full.
After unenthusiastic responses from the three openers, the crowd cheered as Lupe Fiasco’s sister, Ayesha Jaco, walked on stage to perform the spoken word beginning of “Intro.”
Lupe Fiasco then burst onto the stage with the instrumentals of “Intro” — the combination of hip-hop beats and jazzy horns and strings present throughout the Grammy-nominated album.
The rapper and band tricked the crowd by starting the instruments of “Kick Push,” but he abruptly stopped to take in the moment with the fans.
“You know what this [show] is, right?” Lupe Fiasco said from the stage. “You know what this means, right? The album in the city it was made.”
After reminiscing, Lupe Fiasco performed the hit track. Fans jumped back into the uptempo beat with the same excitement they had before the talk. Those same fans showed their enthusiasm throughout the hometown show, chanting “Lupe” between tracks.
The concert was a part of the Red Bull Music Festival, a series of shows that take place over two weeks throughout the city. Lupe Fiasco joked that was the reason he chose to wear a red Chicago Bulls jersey.
The Red Bull Music Festival logo lit up the back of the stage, behind the industrial scaffolding which housed a full band — a horn section, string section, back-up singers, guitar, bass, keys and drums.
Lupe Fiasco wasn’t done reminiscing as he recounted when he got the call on his BlackBerry that the album was nominated for a Grammy. He didn’t win that year but said the following year, again on his BlackBerry, he received the same news about his track “Daydreamin’” featuring Jill Scott.
He performed the slow, swanky song which highlighted the violin and cello. The crowd swayed and sang along to the dramatic track.
“We won for that one,” Lupe Fiasco said.
As the show came to a close, Lupe Fiasco introduced the band and his sister but his introduction of “Mama Fiasco,” who was in the audience, resulted in arguably the loudest cheer from the crowd.
It may have taken the hometown rapper over a decade to bring the album to Chicago, but he promised the crowd it wouldn’t take that long again.
Lupe Fiasco is available to stream on all platforms.