Eschewing that stereotype, the hip hop artist and spoken word poet instead picks up a mic and expresses herself through a flow of beats and rhymes.
“Hip hop is a very real form of music and expression, one of realist I've ever seen,” Figment said. “One (heart) beat in the background and one or more passionate lyricists/poets taking control of everything around them. It can be breathtaking.”
Figment takes the stage tonight at The Bends in St. Pete as part of a benefit for fellow rapper Rhymesayers Independent P.O.S., who will soon undergo a kidney transplant. Other local hip hop musicians on the bill include Prossess, Pedro el Poeta, Prince Golden of Samurai Shotgun, and spoken word artist Camilla Shoosmith.
From an early age, Figment was drawn to the written word, writing poetry, essays, children’s stories, comics; it was about the content, not the genre. She just knew that she had something to say.
Then, she said, even though she didn’t seek it out, “hip hop … found me.” She appreciated hip hop, sometimes listening to ‘80s rappers and ‘90s alternative hip hop artists. “But being a rapper was never really in the forefront of my mind.”
She met a DJ who heard her poetry and asked her to rap over some of his beats. “From that spawned a whole new world of artistic expression,” Figment said. “It’s become one of the main outlets for my emotion and creativity. I had stumbled on something new, something that seamlessly fuses two things that encompass who I am: poetry and rhythm.”
LGBT issues don’t usually work their way to the forefront of her lyrics, though. Rather she’s inspired by more universal themes — love, social standing, economic issues, the world at large — themes everyone can relate to.
“I am gay, but I am not defined by my lesbianism, just as heterosexuals are not defined by their heterosexuality,” Figment said. “I feel pain and anger, I feel joy and love, just like everyone else no matter their orientation, so I choose to have that come out in my music.”