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, 2012’s Love Always and 2013’s Fearless Beauty. Stokes’ has performed the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival, The Essence Festival, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, Summer Set Festival – and has shared bills with Nas, Mos Def, Pusha T, Sean P, Bastille, Erykah Badu, P.O.S., Ryan Leslie, Stalley, Red Man, DMX. Stokes work has been featured in the XXL Magazine, VICE, MTV, HiphopDX, Brooklyn Bodega, The Source Magazine, and Village Voice to name a few. Alliances and sponsorships include Red Bull and VANS.