Songs with philanthropic messages are typically somber, though triumphant, power ballads. But Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco has instead created a booming, bold declarative hip-hop anthem "Mission" for those who have survived cancer or are still batting the disease.
The first single from his fifth studio album, Tetsuo & Youth, due out this summer, tells the stories of a woman with breast cancer, a seven-year-old with Lymphoma, and a man who learned of his ailment at a late stage. Written in a confident, optimistic tone, each subject declares that they won't succumb to the sickness without a fight.
WARNING: "MISSION" CONTAINS EXPLICIT LYRICS
In verse one, the "pink ribbon woman" refuses to let the side effects of chemotherapy break her spirits. Lupe raps, "You can have that hair cause/Real talk bitch/I think I look better." For the second verse, the child exhibits bravery: "I ain't scared/I ain't flinchin'/Sorry Mom, but I gotta say it/But where I'm from they don't make bitches." In the final verse, the male character denounces the disorder, saying, "So f**k cancer/My life with me/And if I die/It die with me."
The song opens with a powerful 90-second intro that includes autobiographies from real life cancer survivors, including R&B star Charlie Wilson (who sings on the outro), and the Roots' Greg Porn. As a celebrity ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), Fiasco is helping raise funds to aid cancer research.
"'Mission' is a song near to my heart from both personal experience and of those close to me," the rapper said in a statement. "We are on a mission and hope others will join in our efforts."
"Mission" could likely be the first anti-cancer record to get played in the clubs.
Visit WeAreOnAMission.org for more information on the cause.
Watch Lupe's "Old School Love" video with Ed Sheeran: