Dark Souls: Praise The Sun

“A soul of water,
A soul of stone.
A soul by name,
A soul unknown.

The hours unmake
Our flesh, our bone.
The soul is all;
And all alone.”

When I first read this poem in Clive Barker’s Abarat, the first game in the Dark Souls trilogy was almost a decade away from being made. Yet, it seems so appropriate for summing up the theme of the series.

The Furtive Pygmy discovers the Dark Soul

In the Age of Ancients, when the world was unformed and shrouded by gray fog, Fire came and brought disparity. Then, from the Dark, They rose and found the Souls of Lords within the Flame. Nito, First of the Undead claimed the Soul of Death. The Witch of Izalith, eventual Mother of Demons, claimed the Soul of Life. Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight, claimed the Soul of Light and challenged the everlasting dragons who ruled the land. Thus, when the dragons were no more, began the Age of Fire.

As the embers fade, as all Fire must, Man bears the Curse of the Undead. Descendants of the Furtive Pygmy, the First Human who claimed the Dark Soul, are fated to resurrect upon death. Branded with the Darksign, symbol of the curse, amongst them are those tasked with the Linking of the First Flame and extending the Age of Fire; the Age of the Gods. For the living will rot and turn Hollow if their life loses its purpose; a fate worse than death. However, should the Chosen Undead abandon the First Flame or take it for himself, an Age of Dark will be ushered in and this will all play out again. The cycle of Light and Dark will forever repeat itself. For, as the world ends, time is convoluted and all lands converge upon themselves. All that can remain is the power of Souls. Continue Reading

Remembering an Icon: Janis Joplin

I wouldn’t be a true hippie if I was not a fan of the late Janis Joplin. Her incomparable vocals, a massive amount of soul, and amazing music made her royalty in a short amount of time. Artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin were the heartbeat of the counter-culture in the 1960s. Janis Joplin even headlined Woodstock in 1969 shaking the stage with her heartfelt performance.

Born in January 1943 Joplin was a fierce spirit who refused to be quiet. She rose to fame during a performance at the Monterey Pop Festival with band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Joplin later left the band to pursue her successful solo career. She took the world by storm performing at music festivals worldwide giving her all. With hits like “Piece of My Heart“, “Cry Baby“, and “Ball n Chain” she won hippie hearts everywhere.

Joplin was not only known for her amazing music and performances but her nasty habits. At a concert thrown by Rolling Stone shortly after Woodstock she was so drunk and high that she tried to get the audience to riot. Many say her music was so soulful because she was troubled and gave it all the pain she had inside.

On October 4th, 1970 Joplin died after an accidental heroin overdose. Her legacy has lived on through the many renditions of her music and many documentaries.  Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin often sing her songs in concert in remembrance to their late friend. Artists like Pink, Stevie Nicks, and many others cite Janis Joplin as a huge influence on their music.  Next time you ever want to feel the words an artist is singing put any of Janis Joplin’s records on.

In need of a prescription! Jaye Prime’s “Lemon-Aid”

What lemonade you THOUGHT Jaye Prime was talking about?

What seems to be an ode to a classic strain is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks from the songstress, to date. There’s a sultriness that’s present with a nice kick from production group (and fellow guitarist) Stacks//Culture & Paradise with mastering from Ashton Woods. Whom both has a nice resume of music with Jaye so the chemistry is rather natural. This track perfectly delicate and flowy just in time for the spring.

Roll up something and listen to Lemon-Aid, you won’t regret it.

Louis Picasso Presents “The GOLD Experience” Listening Party

Artists love to use their imagination and let their minds run free at the expense of their fans.  And to his fans delight, Louis Picasso happens to work in this particular head-space. In the heart of Ypsilanti at Friends Closet, Picasso hosted a listening party for his new project “Gold.” Gold is the long-awaited project that Picasso has promoted on social media for months. Artwork from local talent hung on the walls, merchandise was sold, and the event was being catered by Ypsilanti’s own, Tot’s Spot. Picasso is known for his high-energy and business acumen but just for tonight, the artist let his dreads down and celebrated with friends, family, and his lovely muse CJ Rene. In the midst of the event, Picasso premiered a one-minute snippet of his new video for the single “GOLD” and played the entire project throughout the night.

GOLD will be released on April 1, 2017.


You Are What You Eat: Raphael Wright

If you follow enough people from the city then you’ve probably heard about Raphael Wright and his attempts to open a Black-owned grocery store on Detroit’s Eastside. In case you haven’t, this entrepreneur, author, and founder of Urban Plug L3C has a passion for rejuvenating our community by tackling social issues and incorporating group investment models that you’ll definitely want to take notice of!

I decided to reach out and learn a bit more about his drive for this project and the change he hopes to bring.

Can you tell us a bit about Urban Plug L3C?

“We founded Urban Plug in July 2016. Our first project was a youth entrepreneurship program called Boss Academy, in which we went over entrepreneurial principles with a group of teenagers. We’ve also provided information on stocks, investing, and real estate to smaller groups. This is the biggest project we’ve worked on so far.”

Can you give us an outline of your current project?

“The plan is to start with one store, learn the game, learn the perfect model to run a successful market and, once that’s covered, introduce the platform for people to pool their money and buy into the enterprise. We’d sell half the store to the community and use the profits from that to start again in another place.”

Does that mean you’re seeking to expand this business model to cities other than Detroit?

“I would love to, but I can’t really say ‘yeah.’ We want to focus on Detroit because that’s where we’re from. We do want to serve as an example that this model can work and for every inner city community to take it on, but right now we’re keeping it in the city.” Continue Reading

Do You Watch “Anime?”

Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Dragonball Z! Chances are that if you grew up in the 90s then you’ve watched at least one of these shows. Whichever one that may have been was probably your introduction to anime. However, like most kids, you likely didn’t realize this at the time. I wouldn’t realize it myself until sometime in the early 2000s, after Cartoon Network started airing Tenchi Universe on it’s Toonami block and Yu Yu Hakusho premiered on Adult Swim. Since then, I’ve recognized and viewed anime as a product of Japanese animation. That is, until Avatar: The Last Airbender began to air. Since then, and with the addition of similar shows that blur the line of what is and isn’t anime, I’ve had my doubts as to whether or not my simplistic definition was sufficient. So, I began searching for a better definition by acknowledging some of anime’s key characteristics.

Typical flatness and huge eyes aside, the techniques used in Japanese animation are just as distinctive as they are diverse! The variety of artistic elements, such as the use of color and lighting, and the character designs, like the spiked hair of a shonen protagonist and the soft fluffiness of a shojo MC, are testament to the sheer amount of distinguishing art styles that exist within the medium. It’s production tends to center itself around creating as realistic a setting as possible while utilizing camera effects to combine cinematography with hand-drawn art. Moreover, since anime focuses on realism in both movement and image, environments are produced in which audiences can become easily immersed. A great use of this technique can be found in the works of Satoshi Kon, director of Paranoia Agent and Paprika.

Gif of Satoshi Kon's Paprika to illustrate cinematography's use in anime to create realistic movement

Furthermore, the story-telling mechanism of these shows are easily distinguishable. While most American cartoons are intended for children, the themes of anime are multifaceted and complex. In fact, there are five basic types of anime. Each one is focused on a specific target demographic, with content that ranges from imaginative children’s stories intended to teach morals and principles to tales of a violent, psychological, or even pornographic nature about revenge, addiction, and love. Continue Reading

Bring The Beat In: DJ Stacye J

You can’t go to any kind of event without some kind of music playing in the background. Whether it’s a live band, a symphony, or most commonly the DJ. The DJ usually makes the event. They carefully discover the temperament of the crowd and creates a more lively environment. DJ Stacye J is one of the best at making a regular event into a spectacular one.

Not only is she known for her amazing DJ skills, but she’s known for her lovely spirit, positive energy, and giving artists of all kinds opportunities with her collective Liquid Flow. People like Stacye J are one in a million.

What inspired you to become a DJ?

I’ve always been a fan of music and finding new music growing up. Plus I was always fascinated with how DJs were able to keep parties going with mixing and scratching especially when they would play booty mixes on the radio.

What is your favorite kind of events to DJ for?

Anywhere I can throw in some ratchet-ness with local [Detroit] music and people will dance.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at an event?

I’d have to say getting twerked on mid-transition while scratching and still getting the clean blend might have been the craziest.

You have a collective called Liquid Flow? Describe your mission.

Our mission is to bring people of like minds together to create a safe environment for others who like to explore their talents and have a judgment free zone to do it all in.

What things can we look forward to with Liquid Flow?

Liquid Flow is planning a few free shows this year [in Detroit] for all of our supporters this summer.

You were just recently married, how is married life?

Married life is LIT. We have become a whole different kind of crazy because we know neither one of us is going anywhere.

Being a female DJ in a male-dominated industry has to be challenging. What is the biggest challenge you face?

The biggest challenge I face is trying to prove that I do know what I’m doing especially during my setup time.

Who do you wish to work with one day?

I want to do sets with Erykah Badu and Solange who also DJ.

What does Stacye J as a DJ, have coming up?

Plenty parties for spring and summer.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

The goal is to get overseas.