Chicago-based MC Lupe Fiasco (born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) began rapping in junior high school and joined a group called da Pak several years later. The group signed to Epic, released one single, and split up, all before Fiascoreached the age of 20. Thanks in part to the vocal support ofJay-Z, L.A. Reid signed Fiasco as a solo artist to Arista, but before anything of significance was able to happen (only a promo single and a couple guest appearances were set up),Reid was fired, leaving the MC without a label. Fiascoeventually landed at Atlantic. Preceded by the single "Kick, Push," as well as several mixtapes and an appearance on Kanye West's "Touch the Sky," the album Food & Liquor was set to surface during early 2006, though an unfinished version leaked during the spring, pushing its official release back to September instead. The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 and earned the cerebral rapper three Grammy nominations; "Daydreamin'" (featuring Jill Scott) won the award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. A highly conceptualized follow-up, The Cool, was released in December 2007. Gold sales certification and four additional Grammy nominations followed.