THE WORK OUT. SticMan interview

Interview by G.A. and Myra Robinson

Along with G.A. of Urbanfit we stayed up the night before going over points to cover, pondering the validity and inspiration of the Workout. The member of Dead Prez sounds evolved and inspired in his lyrical out-put. There is a distinct frequency of soundness and peace that exudes from every track. Stic man is not the same man he was in Dead Prez; he is better and in this interview, I’d discover why and how evolution has its way right down to his name.

UF: What is the motivating factor behind your album?
SM: The motivating factor behind my album is my life-force, battles with health issues, family, substance and addiction. These are things I grew up around. The American diet, fast food, unhealthy soul food played apart along with smoking and drinking. At -22, I suffered from a medical condition called gout. This lead to a prescription from Dr. Killer that offered no major change in my lifestyle, so my wife, a holistic health counselor said she could heal me herself. Shock treatment and a radical lifestyle shift along with martial arts and a vegan diet are factors. I have 2- years sober and weed free. All are contributing factors to this album’s release.
UF: Sounds like healing was the motivating factor. That is a walk in the right direction.
SM: Right on! The album is new but I have been on this road for 10 years. This album is not only about fitness about the mind-set and I needed to stay inspired with music. I also feel I needed to do more than what Dead Prez was doing with the political rhetoric. We get pigeon hold and I wanted to show evolution and get away from some of these boxes.
UF: Evolution is the word!
SM: Word, word.
UF: Back to the workout, back to the regimen. Does that mean Stic-man deviated for a spell?
SM: Yeah, for sure. Anybody who changes, you know from a guy just starting out experiencing highs and lows in focus and discipline. Maybe I’m the only one, I don’t know.
UF: No, you are not the only one.
SM: I have to have a certain focus in my life but then there are times I veer off. I was practicing better health but I was also smoking and drinking and sometimes that would throw you off your daily discipline.
UF: Distractions.
SM: I know that concept is universal, so people need to be reminded. You listen to people talk about when they were young, “I use to run track or when I was young I use to be in the gym all the time and I kind of got out of it. Back to the workout, back to the regimen was the anthem that say’s, we can get back on it as easy as we got off it.
UF: I can concur on that playing basketball in school. Exercise changes your thinking. It is an internal working that changes inside out. I see you have evolved as an artist how you’ve spread from healing yourself to your entire being and life. And your wife is beautiful.
SM: Thank you.
UF: I am a fan of you both because I see you working as a dyad-coming together to become one.
SM: My wife, Afya, that’s my comrade. We are best friends. She had a tremendous impact on my growth, my life and health consciousness. We support each in many ways. I am very fortunate to not only have my own determination, but her support and knowledge and her comradery with me.
UF: I imagine that is beautiful. Sounds like you have someone for your overall health.
SM: I’m excited (clearing his throat) excuse me it is from all the touring and performing.
UF: Don’t worry about it.
SM: I feel liberated for the move. I locked myself in my home studio creating a brand new environment with pictures of Mohammed Ali, Bruce Lee, made an altar to my grandfather and an aloe plant to give me some energy and I locked in. It was the beats, the lyrics and calisthenics while I was training and making music. There was that spirit of, this is what I am supposed to be doing and I am hoping someone can get something out of it, some motivation. As for me, I am already satisfied in the creation process.
UF: Stic man I hear you.
SM: My homies call me Jehovah’s Fitness.
UF: (laughter) That’s clever and true.
SM: I got a new gospel. At the same time I want to say I never forget where I came from and I never want to come off as being self righteous or judgmental. As a community there are so many things bombarding us with our health, economic situations to the lack of information. Simply, health consciousness is not popular in our communities even in the schools. Cheese, eggs and the like and we as brown and black people are lactose intolerant. So many things contribute to our state of mind, so I come with passion wanting my sermon to be an example and not my judgment.
UF: “Let my example be my sermon and not my judgment. I hear that.” Yogamat. Love this track; it number one on my list off the album.
SM: Oh, word.
UF: Took some keywords from your song because they stood out to me.
Well-rounded, re-adjust, vice-versa, yin-yang and wise actions were words used to paint a portrait of who you are becoming, the process in (the state of ing, a theory of mines), and your lyrical content. You bring strength to the art and make yoga attractive for let’s say the brother who may not consider yoga. How did you come up with a song about yoga? What was the inspiration? Was that an easy concept for you?
SM: I had the chance to expand practicing yoga. I practice Bikram yoga. My homie was like, yo, I’m going to this room, and you’d love it. At that time I had a lot of stress and needed things to be more in order in my life. My mom had recently got ill with diabetes, so I agreed to go and when I first walked in I knew this exactly what I need right here!
UF: (laughter) I understood his comfort.
SM: From the sweat, breathing and internal focus. I kind of got addicted to that and would use it as a part of my life instead of saying, “let’s go light something up,” I got a high off of the endorphins. That’s were the yoga part came in. I also studied the teachings of Buddha and not the religion passed own. The teachings are actually practical and functional. Many of my lyrics come from these teachings and I’m able to create something I can share. Everybody got their theories, religion and I am not a religious person, but I have to say reading Buddha and applying it to my emotions, relationships, expectations and frustrations gave me solutions and influenced my attitude today. Yogamat is a tribute to this processing as you said.
UF: When I hear you talk about change I get a visual.
SM: It is a metaphor for you being centered, but fluid.
UF: Centered but fluid. Nice. I see a coal miner in his hat with the light on the front and his shovel digging because it is about self-discovery. Yogamat puts me in that state of mind.
SM: That’s beautiful and a powerful symbolism. The coal miner and the light on the helmet is where the pineal gland is; that’s the light.
UF: You are there with me.
SM: You never know what people will resonate with when you just doing you. When I see that it’s encouraging.
UF: It’s your lyrical content.
SM: Word.
UF: Afya, the queen, you guys have a book coming out, Healthy Relationships.
SM: Right, Revolutionary Love.
UF: We need that. I must ask, how? After 18 years?
SM: Well, the book is the long version.
UF: And I will have that.
SM: The short version is, “team work makes the dream work.”
UF: Let me write that down (laughter).
SM: When we met I was performing some ghetto poetry in my hood and she happened to be in the crowd and she came up and said I really enjoy your work and she struck me as this pure individual. I suppose she saw something in me that made her come up. We had a friendly conversation at that moment and we never stop from that moment and we’ve been through everything you can imagine as far as relationships. I met her at 19 she was 18 and as teens going through and turning into a man. I was also dealing with substance abuse, infidelity, finances and everything we can imagine. We are still best friends and hot like fire.
UF: Hot like fire! Ain’t nothing wrong with that. I’m inspired to help folk too. I commend you for what you are doing because we need it. Back to the workout, back to the regimen.
SM: I am encouraged by people putting in work of mentorship because I am a product of mentorship. The good thing about health and fitness is it’s always on time and always practical.

As a person who appreciates an individual, I view Stic Man as a talent, realist and a survivor. His journey is seasoned with many success and pitfalls, but what amazes me is his endurance and end result. His career is revolutionary, moving forward in stages and up in levels. He truly has come out of the cave and is presently standing on its outer landing evolved and healthy. No, there is nothing wrong with the cave experience, as long as you have light and that light is the centered fluidity guided by the pineal gland, Stic Man discussed in the interview. Rather you are a Dead Prez fan or a Stic Man fan of today, there is longevity and attraction to productivity and Stic Man exemplifies this. It takes courage to follow your gut and create good wholesome music folk can vibe to and feel good about. His music is motivating and inspiring as all music should be. Go out and buy the record to get an overall health rejuvenation that is sure to have you back to the workout, back to the regimen because overall health is the matter. As Stic Man states, The good thing about health and fitness is it’s always on time and always practical.

For the record, Stic Man’s name has changed according to his ancestry and purpose in this life. He is Khnum, meaning builder. Talking with the artist, the name is quite fitting.

published 2013.

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