I’m always excited when hip hop comes from unexpected places, and Topeka, Kansas is about as unexpected as it gets. Even though it’s the capital of Kansas, it’s not a city a lot of people have on their mind, least of all as a hip hop scene. Maybe this is all about to change, though, because Topeka native Stik Figa has just dropped an album that is so entertaining and enjoyable, I found myself thinking, “Wow - what else does Topeka have to offer?”

Stik Figa has been releasing records for a few years, but it was his EP with Oddisee, From the Top, that caught the attention of Mello Music Group. It doesn’t take long to figure out what the appeal is, either. Working with producer Michael “Seven” Summers, they’ve laid down an album that is incredibly fun and extremely funky. You can’t fake the funk, but you also can’t deny it, and this is funk that can’t be denied. If you can listen to this album without turning it up and dancing, you might want to check your pulse. Summers does a great job of mixing the fat bass and horn lines of West Coast funk of the ‘70s with some Dirty South production techniques for a sound that is uniquely their own. This provides the perfect stage for Figa, whose flow most closely resembles that of Slug. There is a joy and confidence to his delivery, and it’s quite infectious. Don’t worry, he’s going to lead us all to the good times. It’s not all jokes, though, as Figa shows he get personal and introspective on “Knawhatimsayin,” and “Flaudgin” allows for some excellent storytelling in his verses. “Susan B” is a romantic tale, and while there are a few points where I don’t think the lyricism and wordplay are up to the rest of the album, he manages to keep things pretty respectful, and I appreciate that. Things really click on “Medicine,” a midtempo song with a great groove that really brings the intelligence and social awareness of Stik Figa to the forefront as a lyricist.

At ten songs, Figa keeps everything tight and focused, with no real low point. This is an album that I think should appeal to a lot of different people. I’m glad that Mello Music Group is giving him the support he needs to get some national recognition, because his talent is too big to stay hidden any longer.