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F.Stokes is a Chicago born and bred rapper and spoken word poet now based out of New York City. He tells his story with punctuating imagery and glass-like clarity as he looks at the world through the lens of his family’s shared experiences. Growing up as one of six children to a single mother in the South Side of Chicago, he shared his home with people who lived on the edge of violent death, poverty, and ghosts of abuse and addiction. He found solace in writing early on in childhood and soon began to express himself creatively through verse and spoken word poetry as he grew into adolescene and early adulthood. In 2009 he began touring in Europe in preparation for the release of his first album, 2010’s Death of a Handsome Bride. He quickly grew as a prolific artist, releasing the Baked Goods Mixtape in 2011 and Love Always in 2012. F.Stokes has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, The Essence Festival, and the Metropolis Festival in Holland. He has also cultivated a particularly strong fan base in the UK, where he recorded an EP with the band Bastille, and in Paris, where has sold out multiple shows and has been featured on Nova Radio. Stateside he has been featured in XXL Magazine, Source Online and HipHopDX, among others, and has toured with the likes of Ryan Leslie, Chall Tuna, Mac Lethal, Arrested Developed and Nas. 2013 will see the release of his new album Fearless Beauty, which features production by Paper Tiger of Minneapolis indie hip-hop collective DoomTree, his most personal and political record to date, and more tour dates in Europe, including the Independence Day Festival in France on July 4th.
F. Stokes is a man of fluidity. Planting roots during very trying and limiting circumstances, he has extended his story into a pan-continental epic about the triumph of human possibility.
Stokes tells this story with puncturing imagery and glass-like clarity as he looks at the world through the lens of his family’s shared experiences. Growing into early adolescence in the Southside of Chicago, F. Stokes shared his home with people who lived on the edge of violent death, poverty, and ghosts of abuse and addiction. With F. Stokes’ father in prison for life and no prospect of any improvement for her life or that of her six children, F. Stokes’ mother escaped from Chicago’s south side. A few plastic bags of clothes and hope for change were all that F. Stokes carried into the Madison, WI, Salvation Army where his family would spend the first night of their new life.
Having a best friend in writing since he was able to form sentences on paper, F. Stokes would grow to be the poet he is through storytelling. Though Chicago felt far away, when F. Stokes moved into the Truex Apartments, he recognized the threat of an institutional life was still nipping at his heels. The tile floor of his home was the same he would see at Madison West High, pressuring him with ideas of who he needed to be, and how he should conform when facing the same frightening consequences as those left in Chicago. Young Stokes started to form a personality that would channel all the rage and fear into an identity revered city-wide. Convinced his story was not done and could not be contained by any geographic location, F. Stokes sought a potential in global connection. Though traveling the world frequently, F. Stokes has made his home in New York City for the last decade.
F. Stokes saw an opportunity for his pilgrimage to be met with a world of possibility and reward. While working a bathroom attendant position, his boss would become a catalyst in forever changing the man Stokes perceived himself to be. He began pursuing the attention of people who could help him reach a wider audience while also laying his own plans out and attracting a loyal following. He was growing both as a man and an artist, looking for inspiration from the shapers of the Harlem Renaissance: jazz eccentrics and visionaries like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, who came to The City to revitalize themselves and, ultimately, the world. Like these artists, Stokes found great reception in Europe, touring on album releases since 2009 – including 2010’s Death of a Handsome Bride, 2011’s Baked Goods Mixtape, and 2012’s Love Always. These travels represent a journey for Stokes, and present a message of struggle – some abrasive, some light – while ringing with evidence of a life lived, observed, and documented in the most popular cultural artform: Hip-Hop. This summer’s release of Fearless Beauty will be a display of a life lived by a man in context to his chaotic and unforgiving childhood. F. Stokes has answers, but you will first hear his loud and unrelenting proclamation of the sickness that needs to be remedied. Give the child of a society where Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. would have been able to change the social landscape of this country a dream deferred, and watch as the result sees a chance and “Aspire to Inspire”.
Brooklyn Vegan Premieres F.Stokes New Video “Let’s Build”
Chi-Town Lyricist Puts His Mask On And His Fists Up In New “Shaka Zulu” Video
Windy City Poet Celebrates Release Of New Album Fearless Beauty With A Heartfelt “Mission”
Okayplayer drops Chicagoan F.Stokes Story of Windy City Pimp Culture on New Single
DJ Booth Debuts New F. Stokes Track, “1954”
Midwest Rapper Announces Bold New Album, Fearless Beauty, Celebrating His Family & Chicago Roots