My parents were understandably annoyed when I told them I’d be skipping Thanksgiving at home this year. But when you receive an invitation from Lupe Fiasco to dine at his residence in Chicago, who could resist? And so, a reasonable plane and taxi ride over – both with only a bit of the usual racism – and I found myself outside Mr. Fiasco’s house. Like the Fresh Prince, I waved to the cabbie, like “Homes, smell ya later”, and knocked on the door. The following is a slightly-censored transcript:
The door opened after the second knock, and there stood Lupe Fiasco, dressed up like a pilgrim, with the words, “The Turkey is a Lie” emblazoned on his man-blouse. He looked at me for a second before speaking.
Lupe Fiasco: I thought you’d be dressed as a Native American.
Rujabes: I…I was supposed to?
LF: Isn’t it obvious, man? It would have been perfect satire. The pilgrim inviting the Native American into his home, as atonement for the wrongdoings that are at the genocidal root of this holiday.
Ruja: Oh…my bad, then. I didn’t realize th-
LF: No. Of course you didn’t.
Fiasco looked sad for a moment.
LF: When will these n*ggas learn?
LF: You may enter if you wish. Wipe your feet. Place your bow and arrows in the – oh wait, you didn’t bring any.
He glared at me.
LF: Never-mind then. Follow me.
The night was clearly off to a tense start. I followed Fiasco past his multiple, impressively stylish rooms. He gave a brief description of each as we passed them.
LF: On the left is my meditation room.
Ruja: Is that a –
LF: Yes. That’s an entire choir of Gregorian monks. I’m renting them from Diddy. They add atmosphere.
Ruja: They really do.
LF: Over there’s my metaphorical HD television.
LF: It’s a mirror. You watch yourself…watching it…while it watches you. Don’t act like you didn’t love “The Instrumental”.
Ruja: Oh. But then, why is it in high definition?
LF: I may be deep…but I’m still pretty rich. Hence the gold watch.
Ruja: I see. I guess that’s cool…
We finally arrived in the dining room. The walls were decorated with large oil portraits of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Shaka Zulu, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, and, oddly enough, Betty White (I asked about it later, and Fiasco simply responded, “Cuz she’s funny.”). A large mahogany table was in the center of the room, already topped with an absurd amount of succulent food. As my eye roamed around, I noticed a few other guests were already there.
Ruja: Holy sh*t! Is that Rick Ross? And…Kermit the Frog?!?
LF: Why, yes it is. He was promoting that new Muppet movie. Me and Kerms go back a long way. He gave me my first big break at his annual, “It Ain’t Easy Being Mean Freestyling Championships”, in the Chi.
Kermit: It’s true! I offered Lupe a chance to be a Muppet, but he said he wanted to be a rapper instead. It’s pity too, we needed a replacement for the Cookie Monster.
Ruja: Cuz he’s the Veggie Monster now?
K: No, because he died from diabetes. The Veggie Monster is his son. No one really noticed. I mean, all he ate were cookies.
Kermit laughed a bit. As dark as what he said was, the child in me couldn’t help but smile happily.
Ruja: I see. Nice to see you, Officer Ricky.
Rick Ross: Man, f*ck you.
LF: Do you two know each other?
Ruja: Hm? Oh no, I just always wanted to call Rick Ross, “Officer Ricky” to his face. You know, because even though he raps about being a modern-day Scarface, he used to be a correctional officer.
K: Stop snitchin’, Rick Ross.
Ruja: That’s right, Kermit.
LF: Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen! Let’s relax and diffuse the tension with a nice, deep-fried meal. Don’t eat too much, Ricky. Your health ain’t exactly on point.
Rick Ross glared at everyone as he grabbed a large chunk of turkey, piled large dollops of cranberry sauce on it, and bit deeply into it.
Ruja: This is delicious, Lupe. Compliments to the cook.
LF: Cooks, actually. There’s a crew of orphans who cooked our meal.
Ruja, K, RR: Wait, what?!
LF: Oh, no worries, they’ll be well compensated. I called up my girl Angelina Jolie. They’ll be adopted before the apple pie’s ready. I just wanted to inject this meal with some guilt.
K: That is…that’s pretty f*cked up.
LF: Well, it’s so we’d remember the pain of the Native Americans as the white man re-payed their kindness by casting Mel Gibson in that Disney Pocahantas movie.
LF: And taking their land too. That was pretty raw.
Dinner continued in silence for several minutes following that. The mood, and the meal, actually, had soured quite a bit following that revelation. Eventually, I decided to break the silence.
Ruja: So, Lupe, about Lasers, man…
LF: Man, f*ck you.
Ruja: Fair enough.
K: Actually, did you know that Michael Young History is based off my time in the swamp?
LF: It’s true! Mrs. Piggy was the model for The Streets. I think Gonzo might have been The Game or something or another. Basically, I owe my livelihood to the Muppets.
RR: So do I, man…
K: Shut the f*ck up, Rick Ross! No one even invited you!
K: With your punk ass…
Several minutes of generic table-talk followed. After another period of extended silence.
Ruja: So we just gonna ignore the fact that Kreayshawn has been hiding behind a chair, like…this entire time?
K: It’s just getting awkward now.
RR: Yea, I was gonna ask about that for a sec…
LF: Me too…but then I was all like, you know, maybe she’s just a decoration?
Ruja: I mean, she’s gotta be by now, right? Her legs and arms are showing. She’s clearly there. It’s actually kinda sad.
LF: I didn’t invite her…not even sure how she got in. At least Rick Ross tried. Never seen a dude butter himself up, get naked, and then knock on the door, saying he was, “the best turkey you’ve never had.”
RR: It made sense in my mind.
LF: Did it?
Ruja: Um…hi there, Kreayshawn…what’s good?
Kreayshawn: I’m not here…
There was a long pause.
Kreay: I’m a chair.
K: That girl needs Jesus.
LF: Or at least a ghostwriter…
The night eventually came to an end. Kreayshawn had left of her own accord halfway through the cranberry guilt sauce and muffins. Kermit gave me tickets to see The Muppets film with him and Elmo. He warned me that Elmo in private was a lot more vulgar than on television. I was intrigued. Rick Ross left somewhat earlier, saying he had other dinners to crash. The orphans were in fact adopted before the apple pie. Angelina Jolie had strolled right in and scooped them all away. Brad Pitt could be seen on the doorstep with an annoyed look on his face. Lupe then showed me to the door and handed me something.
LF: Here. A gift.
Ruja: What’s this?
LF: An early copy of Food & Liquor II. If you leak it, I’ll actually kill you. With fire. Happy Thanksgiving, Rujabes.
Ruja: Happy Thanksgiving, Lupe Fiasco.