When hip-hop trio Digable Planets emerged in the early '90s, their memorable moniker raised eyebrows. What, exactly, did it mean? The name sprang, they explained, from the notion that "every individual is a planet." But the unique worlds that their tracks mapped out were not insular ones, and the Planets were primed to connect with audiences weary of the aggressive posturing of gangsta rap. Filled with literate lyrics, honey-smooth flow, and inventive arrangements, their early albums redefined hip-hop and set standards for the generation of soul poets and innovative producers that followed. Musically, they incorporate elements of funk, samba, and psychedelia into their street-savvy hip-hop; jazz, in particular, played a pivotal role. Although Digable Planets dissolved in 1996, they came back together in 2005 to begin work on their first album in over a decade and play a number of well-received live dates (including Lollapalooza 2005), and began work on their first album in over a decade.
Born on the South Side of Chicago, Rodney “F. Stokes” Lucas was raised in the extreme conditions familiar to the millions of American’s who have experience with America’s urban ghettoes. F.Stokes, the eldest of six siblings, grew up in a single-mother household. In F.Stokes case, the term “household” is a misnomer, as his childhood was characterized by frequent address changes, and a stint at a homeless shelter.
F.Stokes music depicts the stark and brutal realities of the impoverished urban experience. However, F.Stokes chooses not to glamorize the circumstances of his upbringing. Rather than capitalizing on the misconceptions of the modern black experience that have begun to dominate the hip-hop landscape, F.Stokes provides thoughtful insight into the plight of black men in our nation’s largest cities.
Through vivid imagery and skillful wordplay F.Stokes reinterpret the thematic traditions of the soul and blues movements for a new generation of music fans. Beneath F.Stokes undeniable talent as a lyricist, he is driven by a deep sense of responsibility to promote progress and compassion with his music.