Photo: MediaPunch Inc/REX USA.
Unless you have a family member who's gone through it (or you've gone through it yourself), it's hard to understand what the word cancer really means. Of course, this makes it difficult for most of us to get into any of the many efforts to increase awareness about this frustrating, mysterious condition. How can you get people to care about something they can't relate to?
Rapper Lupe Fiasco takes on this very challenge in his new track, "Mission." According to his YouTube page, the song is meant "to empower those facing cancer, revere cancer survivors and remember those who have passed due to cancer related illnesses." Created in collaboration with the charity organization Stand Up To Cancer, this is the official first single from Fiasco's upcoming album, Tetsuo & Youth.
The song itself begins with a series of spoken testimonials from survivors, lasting for 90 seconds before the beat starts. Each of the track's three verses is told from the perspective of a different individual: a 7-year-old boy with stage 4 lymphoma, a woman struggling with breast cancer, and a man who went "undiagnosed and untreated" until it was too late. With his lyrics, aggressive tone, and spitfire pacing, Fiasco imbues a deep sense of strength into his characters, giving us a fresh glimpse into the psyche and emotional journey of the cancer patient that feels both profoundly personal and, strangely, entirely relatable. The result is raw, unexpected, and brave — and anything but cheesy. Listen below.