Last Wednesday, JSD got a chance to catch up with F.Stokes before he took the stage at the Break’N Through concert series benefiting VH1’s Save the Music Foundation at the Red Bull Space. Stokes was one of the top five unsigned artists chosen to be featured in Season Two of the series in front of a live audience. He found it humbling to support an organization that restores instrumental music education in America’s public schools as music was one of the entities that has saved his own life.
Rodney Lucas or better known to hip hop fans as F Dot Stokes, is on the cusp of something big. Stokes has already penned an album, shared the stage with the likes of Ghostface Killah and Twista and has been on several tours. It’s been an incredible journey as he has seen far more in his 28 years than most of us ever have to fathom in a lifetime. Born on the South Side of Chicago, he grew up in a single-mother household becoming a father figure at a young age to his five brothers and sisters after their father was sentenced to life in jail for murder. Stokes lived the harsh reality of poverty and was at one point homeless and had sold drugs.
Stokes was able to find solace in music and laid the foundation for his hip hop career in Madison, Wisconsin. He built a steady cult following by performing wherever he could. Later he moved to New York with next to nothing, worked menial jobs, eventually finding his way into the music industry by working with G-Unit and Def Jam.
In 2009, he released his first album, Death of a Handsome Bride, in collaboration with Lazerbeak who he credits for pulling him back from the brink and for restoring his love for music. To say that the album packs a punch would be an understatement. He’s raw and he’s real as he gives each word its due. Stokes has a sense of self, knows where he’s been and where he’s going. With so much sensationalism that now plagues hip hop, F.Stokes has come to reclaim the genre.
Here are some highlights of F. Stokes performance.
A special thanks to Lindell Palmer and Pat Kelly