IMPORT BLACK VINYL
Producer The Expert fuses elements from jazz and 60s-era psychedelic music on ‘Ritual.’ Combine that with emcee Stik Figa at his most honest and personal, and you have the recipe for a must-cop. The tracklist already sets the tone for what to expect with guest spots by Blu, Solemn Brigham (of Marlowe), Defcee, Sleep Sinatra, Tanya Morgan, and Daniel Luke. Hip-hop heads who have heard last year’s psychedelic hip-hop opus ‘The Overview Effect’ by The Expert together with emcee Jermiside, already know they’re in for a trip.
Stik Figa has a good ear for beats. 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 Griselda’s Conductor Williams, and several releases on Mello Music Group with production work by Apollo Brown, Black Milk, and Exile, among others.
Now, with The Expert, Stik Figa finds himself in a sonic pastiche. 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. Stik Figa, on his turn, moves with ease from dead honest observations to showing lyrical dexterity and skill, to expressing inner struggles.
All of that makes ‘Ritual’ a head-nodding, mind-blowing body of work. The way jazz
influences collide with psychedelic production pushes both the Dublin, Ireland-based
producer and the Topeka, Kansas native emcee into new hip-hop territory.
02. Uknowhut? (ft. Blu)
03. Cost Of Business
04. Rob Peter, Pay Pallbearer (ft. Daniel Luke)
05. Slo Pokes
06. The Green Monster (ft. Solemn Brigham)
07. Zambezi Zinger (ft. Tanya Morgan)
08. Lonely Planet
09. Yah's Shorthand
10. Service (ft. Defcee)
11. President Streets
12. The All (ft. Sleep Sinatra)
13. The Forgotten
"Arguably his strongest work to date. (...) The Expert has gifted Stik Figa a wealth of crisp,
jazz- and soul-informed productions—relying on jazz and soul loops can sometimes be a safe fall-back position, but the way they’re looped and arranged here has the feel of careful, thoughtful composition—and the rapper navigates them beautifully, crafting lines that land with genuine potency."
—J. Edward Keyes (Bandcamp Daily, Essential Releases)
"Ritual is among 2023’s best. A tasteful and stylish piece of hip-hop, an album you can’t
afford to miss out on."
—HHGA (The Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023)
"The Expert's production features a healthy dose of psychedelic rock samples that are
executed brilliantly. He puts those sounds into a blender with traditional golden-age and jazz sounds that rap purists will surely appreciate."
—The Rap Music Plug Podcast
"The guestlist is an obvious highlight (...) while the two main players maintain a winning
"... One of 2023’s best albums."
—Sherron Shabazz (The Real Hip-Hop)