Artist Select [June 2021] Presents: Figgy Baby
Individualism is paramount in life. Those who are most comfortable in their own skin are often the most dangerous. Self-expression is a tall order in a world where everyone spends more time analyzing outward than reflecting inward. Enter Figgy Baby, an artist best known for their thoughtful lyricism, gender-defying style, and high-energy stage presence. However, there’s more to Figgy – much more. Born Andrew Figueroa, Figgy Baby has an innate ability to channel their deeply personal feelings and experiences into stunning art.
“I can’t be wasting time not saying things of value that are vulnerable and pushing the boundaries as well.”
Figgy Baby first experienced the world of hip-hop when their aunt gifted them the classic Snoop Dogg album Doggystyle at the age of 10. As a youngster of Hispanic heritage in Southern California, Figgy admits that hip-hop showed them representation that they didn’t find anywhere else. In the confidence, conviction, and braggadocio of their favorite rappers, Figgy saw role models.
Though they didn’t fully immerse themselves in hip-hop until a few years later, the creative roots were always prevalent. Figgy started out a dancer, busting b-boy moves in the garage and learning to krump after watching Rize. It wasn’t until high school when a friend convinced Figgy to write poetry that the passion truly blossomed. In college, several of Figgy’s homies encouraged them to freestyle. Once Figgy got that first taste of the stage, they were hooked.
“I always knew I liked being the center of attention, now I actually have something to do while I’m here. This feels good… I’ve never been moved by anything like I’ve been moved by writing, hip-hop, and rap. Nothing else would get me out of bed.”
Figgy would stay awake for hours on end, writing through the night. Whether it was those countless hours of practice or a genuine gift for humanistic expression, hip-hop allowed Figgy a creative, therapeutic outlet for themselves and others alike.
“I don’t consider myself a political writer, or a conscious rapper, that shit is kind of trite to me… What I say is real – with the good and the bad.”
Figgy’s pen can take you on a journey spanning weeks, months or even years of their life in a matter of minutes. On the track “Mr. Baron,” Figgy describes getting caught with marijuana at 14. “You made me feel like a criminal, I was a kid,” they say, heavily criticizing the counterproductive methods of consequence they faced thereafter. On the chorus, Figgy is at their most confident amidst deeply personal, sometimes heartbreaking verses – “You can tell Mr. Baron I’m still smoking, I’m still high.” Figgy uses their art as a mode of reflection, exploration, and acceptance – and they’re not going to compromise who they are for anyone.
“How I’m healing as an individual will be reflected in my music.”
Maneuvering through a genre like hip-hop that has historically been closely associated with hypermasculinity and homophobia places Figgy in an interesting predicament. Will they be quickly rejected for superficial reasons or wholeheartedly respected for speaking their truth? For Figgy, anyone who doesn’t give the sound a chance because of a painted nail is losing out. Figgy’s mission goes deeper than music. They emphasize the importance of building a community and using their platform to change the culture.
Figgy Baby has made it their duty to create bodies of work that explore the healing and reimagining of “traditional” masculinity. In early 2020, Figgy and a couple of friends with similar feelings got together to talk about masculinity and manhood. Quickly thereafter, Bloom Homie was born. The collective has weekly meetings discussing topics including relationships, body image, self-worth, and sexism through the lens of modern masculinity. Figgy’s built an entire movement behind what they rap about, injecting new life into the phrase “practice what you preach.”
“I know I’ve treated myself and other people in my life poorly because of what I thought a man was supposed to be… Not allowing us to tap into our full range of human experience and emotion is holding [men] back. That repression leads to violence, a lot of it is self-violence.”
Figgy possesses an inherent understanding of the perils of hypermasculinity. Knowledge is often profound, yet they recognize that it must be passed down. Bloom Homie has members across the country supporting each other on a mission to better themselves. Figgy has taken their own sense of fearlessness and shamelessness and utilized it to help others who feel the same.
At their core, Figgy is a unique individual who doesn’t have to put much effort into creating a rap persona. Admittedly, there isn’t much distance between Andrew Figueroa and Figgy Baby. “It’s important to me that it’s not so different,” they say, reminiscing on their life experiences and learnings that have influenced this creative journey thus far. Whether you catch them at a show or on the street, Fig is a personable human of value looking to spread that love and awareness throughout the world.
In terms of what’s next for Figgy Baby, they plan on releasing one song per month for the rest of 2021. The next release is “under cold water” set to drop on June 30th.
You can check out my full conversation with Figgy Baby here. Be sure to follow Figgy Baby on Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on all Spotify and Apple Music. Lastly, for more Artist Select news, check out last month’s article profiling Dylan Rockoff.