It’s rare that hip-hop artists offer a chase-the-dollar record that doesn’t seem bogged down by platitudes and a disconcerting level of detached tunnel-vision. Financial well-being is something we all aspire for, but it’s a tool—not a trait. Thanks goes out to Topeka, Kansas veteran Stik Figa and lyrical demigod Elzhi for minding that in the creation of “Down Payment,” the first single from Stik’s upcoming Central Standard Time album.
As a lyrical exercise alone, the track comes through as both MCs are renown for their gifts as wordsmiths. But over Nottz’ enchanting woodwind sample and crisp drums, Stik turns the track’s theme into a double meaning—he’s trying to pay dues to get paid. He attributes his relative lack of wealth with his unwillingness to conform to the music industry’s demands, noting “eagles don’t fit in pigeonholes.” Elzhi, ever the technician, comes through with a dizzying guest verse where he asks, “what if you couldn’t put your finger on how this got out of hand, could you handle that?”
We’re glad both he and Stik decided to handle their travails over rhyme. Central Standard Time doesn’t have a date just yet, but it’s available for pre-order here.
You can stream “Down Payment” below.