Album Review- Stic.Man- The Workout

Not sure if you know it or not, but Stic.Man and M1 of Dead Prez are two of my favorite underground artists. These two artists are probably the best at making good music out of a political message, while I don't have to agree, they can at least get me to listen to it and like it. Not overly constrained by the idea of looping old soul samples, nor any other style of production, they manage to get all areas encompassed in their music. This album, a second solo by Stic, is simply titled the workout and it addresses a serious need in our community, health.

Now, they have done songs about working out, but Stic starts off an entire album on the topic with "MVP" where is sort of takes the role of one of those infomercial pumping guys to get you motivated in his manner. The first actual song is "Blood Pumpin'" where he talks about how you need to work hard and get yourself physically correct to be the best person you can be. "Champion" is another song about using your inner strength as motivation and to have a belief in oneself.

"Back on My Regimen (Swole like Tookie Williams" featuring Divine RBG has Stic going over the same topics, the beat is mean with a low thumping bass line and hook while the emcees talk about getting back on their workouts and getting more swole. "Sober Soldier" is about getting rid of the drugs and alcohol in order to preserve his health so that he can be the best soldier he can be, and these external stimulants (and depressants) just stand in the way of that. In a slightly less serious vein, there is "Bruce Lee" where Stic.Man talks about being inspired by the martial arts master, falling away from it and then getting back to martial arts. "Yoga Mat" is more about the mental aspect of health and clearing ones mind through stretching and meditation to get rid of stress.

Zayd Malik and Baba Jim feature on "Joe Louis" which is about using boxing as a workout technique to get healthy and stronger and to gain new focus. "Baby Fat" is for the women to feel the love and features Maimouna Youssef, Afya Ibomu, and Ife Jie speaking about health from the perspective of during and after pregnancy. "Let it Burn" with Coach NYM is another general song about continuing to work through the hard parts of a workout. General Steele co-stars on "Warrior Codes" where Stic emphasizes the street reasons for working out and getting better with the hands and fists. Afya Ubomu is also on "Healthy Livin'" which is about the food that we eat and how that relates to health. "Runner's High" with Martin Luther is about the peace and focus that accompanies running as well as the literal health benefits.

While several of the songs can seem repetitive in terms of what is literally said in this album, the different sounds and feels of each song help to keep the album seeming more fresh than what it is. A couple songs could have been culled in favor of more songs like Bruce Lee and Healthy Living but with such a narrow topic it can be forgiven that some songs pretty much overlap. It's a great idea and shows the breadth of topics that most rappers could be taking on instead of the same rhetoric about popping bottles and filling yourself with things that are harmful, but I doubt the mainstream will pick up. After Noreaga tried to promote his diet and attempts to lose weight over 2 years ago, there hasn't been much in hip-hop about health at all so it's good to see someone stepping up. However, the use of the words regimen and discipline get to be a bit much at times and were my main annoyance at this innovative album.

Rating: 2.5/5


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