F. Stokes Recalls Interning For 50 Cent, Explains Moving To Harlem Because Of Malcolm X
The Chicago-born Madison, Wisconsin-raised emcee opens up about growing up, his inspiration from recording in Europe along with reasons for finally setting in New York City.
In this world of heavy beats and catchy hooks, it is becoming harder and harder to find emcee’s that focus on lyrical skill and ability. Thankfully, Hip Hop has given us F. Stokes. When first speaking to the Doomtree affiliate, one would first realize that in addition to stellar rhyming, the Midwestern packs a plethora of charisma. With musical influence ranging from Kanye West too Patti Smith, this artist fits nicely into the genre-bending trends as of late.
Chi-Town: "Chicago is a city of soul, and passion - so I'd say its influenced my music a great deal. From the personality of the neighborhood I grew up in, to the strong Blues roots. I'm from the Southside of Chicago, so a lot of my early pieces reflected my environment; the pimps, the gangsters, 14 year old mothers, the whole nine yards."
Listen To "Wait A Minute" by F. Stokes
“Mad” In Madison: "When I was 12 or 13 my mother moved us to Madison, Wisconsin, to basically escape the ghetto. It's a very poetic story; a single mother, six kids, and a Greyhound bus-ride. Madison was where I could hone my craft without worrying about getting shot. It’s a very important place to me, as to this day, it provides peace and comfort. I get the love there because I give the love. I make it a point to involve Madison in my journey, so the energy is completely reciprocated. I'm not a part of the Hip Hop community, but more so the community as whole. My raps are just a convenient way for me to communicate my love for Madison."
First Job In Music: "I was 50 Cent's intern. 50 is one of the most amazing individuals I've ever met. He continued to encourage not just me, but everyone on staff. It was great to learn firsthand from one the best business men in the history of music. The education I took away was mountains in proportions... I'd say the most consistent bit I took was loyalty. Not to say I'm not a loyalist, but 50 takes it to a high level and expects the same of those who works with [or] for him. As an artist you have to remain loyal to your brand and those who are close to you. Even when the world thinks opposite."
Inspiration From Europe: "I get loads of inspiration from Europe. I'm actually answering these questions [as I'm on] a train ride through Switzerland. I want to preface by saying I'm an extremely proud American, and I will always and forever be a defender of America. I gain inspiration wherever I go, so Europe only heightens that ideology. A large part of music is being able to craft ideas out of the subconscious mind, so traveling to any degree adds to that. I'd say one of the key things I've learned while touring Europe is that, as an artist, you have to make your music universal. These kids didn't watch the same cartoons as we did, or eat the same food, so its critical to me that I focus on diction, so that at the very least, they can understand my words."
Favorite City In Europe: "Paris, that's like a third home to me at this point. I love that place. Paris is probably my second biggest market outside of Madison, and my show there last week confirmed that. Its just such a rich place culturally, and for decades it’s been an important oasis, and host to scores of African American artist."
“Kanye Kids Generation”: "Kanye West is the most important artist of my generation, I believe - especially with me being from Chicago. No one has transcended music, fashion, and lifestyle in Hip Hop like he has. Kanye made it ok to be fashion-forward, and touch on subjects of emotionality without having to justify your manhood as a Black man. So yes, I'm a Kanye kid, because he did it first, and does it the best, frankly speaking."
Music and Culture: "It’s really all perspective. Sometimes I'm in the mood for some 2 Chainz, sometimes I wanna vibe to some Patti Smith, so it varies. I don't like to name names necessarily because, you know, you have the obvious one, but if you are a musician in the now, I feel like you have an obligation to make an impact: socially and artistically."
Reason For Settling In New York City: "Malcolm X. I saw how much fun Detroit Red was having in Harlem, and I knew I had to be apart of that fabric. Music was wrapped in my reasoning, of course, but the lifestyle I wanted to live played a huge roll in it."
New ‘Ish: "Lots of music, for sure. I'm creating some pieces with a band out of London called Bastille, I was just featured on their mixtape, Other People's Heartache... As far as tours, I have a few spot dates, and my first officially New York City headline date April 19 at Santos Party House."
Final Message: "Aw, man, I'm bad at sales pitches... The best I can say is I appreciate my listeners, and I will continue to be the voice of the voiceless. When you hear me, you hear the man, the present and the promise."