If you’re booked to play a gig in Washington to mark the reinauguration of Barack Obama as President of the USA, it’s probably safe to assume the people booking you aren’t expecting a set overtly critical of the Prez.
But given Lupe Fiasco has previously criticised Obama’s foreign policy and called the Commander In Chief a “terrorist”, the people organising the Start Up Rock On show last weekend probably shouldn’t have assumed the rapper would respect those expectations.
According to Josh Rogin from The Cable, writing on Twitter, Fiasco launched into a diatribe against the President midway through his set at the Washington show, and refused to move on to a less controversial song, meaning that his extended version of ‘Words I Never Said apparently ran for at least half an hour (exactly how long depends on who you ask) until a bunch of security guards bundled the rapper off stage.
Of course you might wonder want happened to Fiasco’s First Amendment rights in the middle of this customary celebration of American democracy, though if he really did perform the same song for 30 minutes, perhaps security were trying to enforce the Eighth Amendment and protect the audience against “cruel and unusual punishments”.
That’s not quite how organisers from Hypervocal put it, but almost. In a statement, the website said: “Lupe Fiasco performed at this private event, and as you may have read, he left the stage earlier than we had planned. But Lupe Fiasco was not ‘kicked off stage’ for an ‘anti-Obama rant’. We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act. Lupe Fiasco repeated the one song for more than 40 minutes”.