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BlacAmerica 02:14
Slo Pokes 03:10


Producer The Expert fuses elements from jazz and 60s-era psychedelic music on ‘Ritual,’ which sets the backdrop for emcee Stik Figa at his most honest and personal. People who have heard psychedelic hip-hop opus ‘The Overview Effect’ by The Expert together with emcee Jermiside, already know they’re in for a trip. A glimpse at the tracklist also sets the tone for what to expect with guest spots by Blu, Solemn Brigham (of Marlowe), Defcee, Sleep Sinatra, and Tanya Morgan. But the true beauty of this record lies in the contrast: the way jazz influences collide with psychedelic production pushes both the Dublin, Ireland-based producer and the Topeka, Kansas native into new hip-hop territory.

Stik Figa has a great ear for beats—he’s got a back catalog of thirteen years deep to show it. His releases include early work with Oddisee, the collaborative album ‘The City Under The City’ with L’Orange, last year’s ‘Valley of Dry Bones’ with Conductor Williams, and releases on Mello Music Group with production work by Apollo Brown, Black Milk, and Exile, among others.

Now, with The Expert, he finds himself in a sonic pastiche of psychedelic effects, banging drums, clear touches of jazz, and deep basslines. The Expert freely bends what he digs up from his crates: layers upon layers of Mellotron chords, vibraphone melodies, guitar stabs, and swirling strings tumble over each other. All for hard-hitting beats that defy the golden-era boom-bap rulebook. Case in point: when was the last time you heard a solo piano piece between tracks with reversed drum samples and 808 kick drums? Irish pianist Daniel Luke delivers just that on “Rob Peter, Pay Pallbearer.”

Stik Figa moves with ease from dead honest observations to showing lyrical dexterity and skill, to expressing inner struggles. ‘Ritual’ is without a doubt his most personal body of work to date. It’s just as he raps on “Uknowhut?” featuring Blu: “Self-fulfillment remains the greatest metric of wealth.” Besides Stik Figa openly sharing his inner musings on the album towards that goal, the same goes for The Expert: he shares his own deepening and further self-cultivation—a head-nodding, mind-blowing continuation of his psychedelic-tinged beatmaking antics.

—Danny Veekens (Rucksack Records)


released June 16, 2023


All music produced, arranged, and mixed by The Expert

All lyrics and vocals by Stik Figa (except features)

All Stik Figa vocals recorded by DJ Sean P
Mastered by Tony Fitz
Art and design by Gavin Feiritéar

Released by Rucksack Records


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The Expert Dublin, Ireland

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