The Beatbox: Stik Figa

Some fans might be disappointed that half of the 10 songs on Stik Figa’s newest release, Stik Figa as Himself, are recycled from an earlier digital release on illroots.com, It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Skinny. No matter. Tracks such as “Class of 2000,” “Absitively,” “Susan B” and “Medicine” are local classics, aged like a Kansas City strip. “Everyday,” one of the new tracks, like much of Stik’s work, is an impassioned homily about daily struggles and is dedicated to the working class (in this case, nine-to-fivers, divorced fathers and hairdressers). Whether he’s talking about going back to school, class division and his own goofiness or he’s bragging about his rhyme skills, Stik does it all with a relaxed Southern charm (he’s a native of Memphis), a poet’s delicate sense of language and the chutzpah of a street hustler. He may be skinny in real life, but Stik’s talent looms large over other local rap artists. In a recent collaboration with Ron Ron — a rapper of similar talent from the city’s East Side — Stik showed promise as a potential bridge between the city’s gangster and backpacker divide. These might seem like high expectations for the young rapper. But given his muscular talent, putting the city on his back — or at least sharing part of the load — isn’t out of the question.

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