Album Review | Stik Figa – Pookey: Stik Figa Finds Himself…

This album was released on February 3rd this year. If you have been following this blog for a while then you should already know who Stik Figa is. His last full length album made it onto the list of my 25 favorite albums of 2022, so I was looking forward to seeing how he would follow it up. I mean, he dropped an EP called Valley of Dry Bones this past October, which was pretty good. I was curious to see what the next full length album would sound like though. This project in particular is actually the final entry in a trilogy. The first album came out in 2012 and was called “As Himself.” The sequel, Stik Figa Is Not Quite Himself, came out a few years later. It should be noted that the only one I’ve heard is the original As Himself album. It’s one of the first projects I ever heard by Stik Figa, and I thought it was just okay. The biggest factor that kept me from enjoying it so much was the production from Seven. I just found a lot of the beats to be really stale. It was a solid album overall though. Anyway, since I never heard Stik Figa Is Not Quite Himself I’m just gonna be comparing this to As Himself. I’m expecting this one to be miles ahead of that project, but who knows? Maybe the production will be lacking on this album as well. I kinda doubt that’ll be the case though because this project is fully produced by DJ Sean P, who handled the beats on East of MacVicar Ave, which I really enjoyed. I think this is gonna be one of the first truly great albums of the year honestly.

The album begins with The Skinny, Pt. 2. The original song, The Skinny, was the opening track from As Himself, and I actually enjoyed that song, so I was looking forward to seeing how he would follow it up with this sequel. I’m happy to report that it’s also very enjoyable. I think the horn-based production from DJ Sean P sounds great, and Stik Figa flowed over it really nicely. The somewhat autobiographical content is pretty interesting too.

I can still smell the grass after a summer rain
E&J on the breath of the homies runnin' from pain
And we saggin' through the mall, askin' girls for their names
Lettin' the time pass, convinced nothing is gonna change

I actually think I enjoy this song more now than I did when I first heard it. The production is pretty nice, and the more I pay attention to Stik Figa’s lyricism the more I enjoy it. If I had to choose one over the other, I’d probably go with the original, but this one’s good too. It’s just that there’s only one verse on this song, and I feel like the original one sounds a bit more complete and fulfilling as a singular track. However, I can say that this one definitely had me more excited to check out the rest of the project. I think it’s really good. It transitions really nicely into the following track, Intersections, which features Reggie B. I’m not sure if it’s the same Reggie B that was featured on Masta Ace’s Son of Yvonne album or if it’s a different guy. Stik Figa did say something along the lines of “R.I.P. to eMC,” but I’m not sure if he was talking about Masta Ace’s group. Probably not. I don’t even know if I heard him right. Anyway, I really love the melodic production on this track, and the hook is pretty great too. The background vocals really add a lot to the refrain in my opinion. The first verse is fantastic.

Went off the beaten path of places you can't come
Thanks to the trauma I can't forget where I came from
Learn to navigate it, this place where you ain't from
Snakes slither through the grass, snatched up my day one

This song was really good to me the first time I heard it, but now I kind of think it’s amazing. The first verse was great, but he really snapped on the second one.

What's the difference between me and you?
Luxury vehicles, switching lanes in traffic and can't see the roof
Is you illiterate, can't read the room, still it's RIP to DOOM
But slappin' Jacka, he told me to see it through

That line about the thick woman looking like Trick Daddy was pretty funny. I’m assuming Reggie B provided the background vocals, but I’m not totally sure if that’s what his contribution was. Anyway, I think the song’s dope as hell. I love it. It’s followed by BSU Talent Show, which I also really love. The production from DJ Sean P is really fucking good, and I find the lyrics in the refrain of this song to be really relatable.

A nigga wasn't cool, I was awkward
And when I went to school, I felt boxed in
Wasn't ever smooth, but obnoxious

I also really enjoy Stik Figa’s flow on this song, particularly during the final quatrain of the second verse. I honestly went kinda back and forth with this song. The beat started feeling a bit repetitive to me for a split second, but then I realized that I don’t really mind just because the loop itself is fire. I mean, either way I knew I liked the track. I just didn’t know how much I loved it, ya know? However, I can definitively say that I love the song now. I think it’s really dope. The following track is called Write of Passage, and it’s far from a highlight for me, but I still definitely like it to some extent. I think the production is pretty good despite being a little low on the energy scale. The rapping from Stik Figa is definitely satisfactory. The song is only just under two minutes long, so it’s not quite as ambitious as the preceding couple of tracks, but it’s still pretty enjoyable as it is. I like it. Once again, Stik Figa killed the second verse.

I heard the bullet points, each one was a hollow statement
Shell casin', bouncin' over this hollow pavement
Grim reaper work overtime, he on the grave shift
It's all for temporary gain, we know the arrangement

Again, this song isn’t really a highlight for me on the album, but I definitely enjoyed it overall. I think it’s really good. The following track is called Sunflowers & Gunpowder. I really love the soulful, kind of romantic-sounding production on the intro of this track. Once the main part of the instrumental drops the songs gets even better though. I think this song has one of the best instrumentals on the album. The second verse is my favorite part of this track.

I ain't been nowhere, but I feel that I'm goin' places
Fighting doubt, that became a prison of my own creation
I'm talking square biz, but you gotta know the language
Hand-me-downs and off-brands had became my motivation
And not for nothing, nothing is everything
Thought you was something, got punchlines, but you never swing
Some things never change, chasin' dreams is evergreen
Staying in the moment, content when I get these better things

He killed this track. The rapping and production are really great. The only aspect of this song that I don’t really care for is the hook. It’s not bad enough to ruin the song, but I’d be lying if I said that I found it to be particularly enjoyable. The song is really dope to me overall though. The following track is called License & Registration, and it’s performed by an artist named Propaganda. This was kind of a frustrating track for me. I absolutely adore the production from DJ Sean P here. I think this might actually be the best instrumental on the album. I think Propaganda has a really nice voice for rapping too. My issue was just that I didn’t love his flow. It was kind of an off-kilter, Spoken Word-esque cadence. It wasn’t off-beat or anything, but it just wasn’t particularly catchy. I definitely liked the song a lot, but I feel like I should’ve loved it more than I did. It’s still a really enjoyable song that I wouldn’t even consider skipping, but I feel like it could’ve been the best song on the album, and it just isn’t. It’s still really dope though. Track 7 is an interlude called A Wake Up Call. It’s just audio of a phone call with some old dude talking about growing up with Hip Hop. I really like the instrumental in the background, and I actually found the content of what the dude was saying pretty interesting. I think it’s a dope interlude. The following track is a highlight called Wannabe. I like the production on this track a lot, but it’s really just the rapping from Stik Figa that makes this song stand out so much. I think this song has the best rapping on the whole album.

Really insecurity the place to belong
Truly ain't enough phrases I could say in a song
Preoccupied with my language, am I saying it wrong?
If I'm standing on the truth then the statement is strong
Pops tryna teach me how to be a real man
My Uncle **** doin' life in that steel can
Called me, said, "boy, stick it to the real plan
'Cause in here you'd be food added to the meal plan."

The closing verse on this track is one of the best verses I’ve ever heard from Stik Figa.

On and on and on into infinity
Don't be a bitch, you bleed the skins identity
You like me, I'll park your shit, so many enemies
Every minor infraction's met with harsh penalties
Think you indestructible, residue white supremacy
America's only ministry: blood, money, and guns
That's truly the holy trinity
Worked your killing fields for four centuries
Forgive my wicked tendencies, look
Survived daily in spite of the world's indignities
A litany of heinous shows of evil acts of bigotry
And still we sing and dance and show a smile sweet as grenadine
And Jesus promised later one day we'll see serenity

The song is dope as hell. It’s followed by Connectivity, which is one of the weaker songs on the album for me. I don’t really think anything about it is particularly bad. It’s just that I don’t really care for the subject matter personality. It’s just about an attractive woman that Stik Figa is into. I think he executed the song well, and the featured artist, Kye Colors, came through with a solid performance. I liked his verse a lot actually. I think the production is solid too. The song is cool. It’s just not the type of track that I get really excited about personally, ya know? It’s good though. I fuck with it. Track 10 is called Designer Skin, and it’s really dope. Once again, I think this song has some of the best rapping on the project. Stik Figa killed this shit.

We walk this Earth with designer skin
There's more to find within
Guided by spirits in small silences
Intangible, yet to be cosigned by the sciences
Formed through the love of this bond of my alliances
Observing the stars written in God's shorthand
Evidence of providence can humble a poor man
Leaving something of value at the end of our torment
Knowing all is temporary on this planet's floorplan

I really like the cuts that DJ Sean P used for the hook on this track. The second verse is performed by Gee Watts, who was also featured on Life Sentences by Tech N9ne. I definitely enjoyed his performance on this track to some extent, but I wouldn’t say that he was anywhere near as great as Stik Figa himself. In fact, I probably would’ve enjoyed this song more if it was a solo track honestly. I still really like it though, and I enjoyed Gee Watts’ performance. It’s a dope track. It’s followed by a highlight called OG. This one features A’Sean, as well as The Popper, which is a name I never expected to see again. I’m familiar with him through his work on Sickology 101 & Killer by Tech N9ne. Anyway, I think the production on this track is really great, and I absolutely adore Stik Figa’s flow here. It’s really catchy. I actually enjoyed A’Sean’s more intricate flow on the second verse, and The Popper sounded great on the closing verse. This track just does everything really well. Every single verse is really enjoyable, and the production is top notch. The song’s dope as hell. The penultimate track is another interlude called Pops Told Me. As the title kind of hints, this is a recording of Stik Figa’s father talking about what a real man is. I think the production is great, and I found the content of what Stik Figa’s father had to say to be very interesting. It’s another dope interlude. The closing track is called After the Credits. I really love this track. It grew on me after repeat listens. I think the production is actually really superb, and both of the verses on this track are really well-written. The second verse is performed by an artist named Jabee, who I’ve seen on Twitter and other social media platforms, but whose music I’ve never actually listened to. I really enjoyed what I heard from them on this track though, so I think I might check out some of their work. Anyway, this is one of the best songs on the album in my opinion, and a great way to close the project.

This album is great. There’s not a single track here that I don’t like. I think this is a pretty huge leap in quality from the first entry in this trilogy. The main reason is just the production honestly. These beats are way better than the instrumentals that Seven provided. These ones don’t feel nearly as stale to me. I enjoyed pretty much every single instrumental here. Stik Figa killed this shit too. I feel like the dude is just getting stronger and stronger as an MC as he ages, and he’s operating in peak condition here. Most of the features are pretty good too. I really don’t have any consistent gripes with this project. I think some of the transitions and beat variations sounded a little jarring at first, but I got used to them after repeat listens. This shit is really dope. Check it out.

Favorite Song: Intersections
Least Favorite Song: Connectivity


Grade: B+

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