These days, MCs often forsake flow and cadence for the sake of swagger. A study in the art, Topeka's Stik Figa has got all three by the pound and dishes 'em out on The Skinny
, mixed by Johnny Quest. Whether he's reclaiming the Midwest's double-time bounce on "Give That Back," spitting laid-back verse over a lazy 808 on "Lookin' Good" or talking big over a monolithic Miles Bonny track on "Figa of Speech," the Top Town denizen's skill is obvious. Stik's Memphis roots come through in his drawl as he slaughters the mainstream-sounding beats of "King Kong" and "Dope Boy Fresh." The album is supposed to come off like a mixtape but, thanks to Quest's expertise, it's as polished and coherent as any official release. Packing universal topics and a vast array of wordplay, Stik is truly a post-millennial MC, as attractive to the underground as he is to the streets.