A League of Vibrant Energies: Breaking the Glass Ceiling One Kismet Track at a Time

Words by Amiyah Golden

 

A League of Vibrant Energies (more commonly known as “L.O.V.E Culture”) is a fitting acronym for a local artist collective  of five brilliant individuals who have come together to produce music laced with intention and vigor — EASYin2D, Flash the Samurai, DJ Larry Love, Spirit XIII, Ch́e, and Rob Mari.  

 

“1827 N Pearl” was the project by L.O.V.E. Culture that I streamed as soon as I left James Weldon Johnson Park’s Hip Hop Festival a couple years back. I whipped out my Spotify (because that’s the only acceptable streaming platform) and added every song to my playlist — each one exceeding my expectations. L.O.V.E. Culture’s “1827 N Pearl” record allowed me to immerse myself in storytelling that paid homage to this city we all cherish and call home. It led to me becoming a fan and wanting to see them win. With one of my treasured favorites off the album being, “8th Street Interlude,” it further solidified the artistry that lived within L.O.V.E. Culture.

 

That initial performance was followed up with me asking my fellow aficionados if they had heard of this group. If I was met with a “no,” I would direct them to get acquainted (like, immediately). But more often than not I was met with a “yes!” and that feeling of elation would turn into perplexity … because why would no one put me onto the gem that is L.O.V.E. Culture?!

 

It’s all good, though. I unearthed them when I needed it most. 

 

Getting to sit down and chat with L.O.V.E. Culture was an experience that I will always value. With each member holding true to the make-up of their name — a league of vibrant energies — it confirmed that it was a title meant just for them. 

 

With the dexterity they hold and the goals they’ve accomplished thus far, it could’ve been so easy for them to act impudent, but I felt right at home (I honestly felt like an honorary seventh member.) The respect they have for others and each other was refreshing: It wasn’t forced nor phony but pure, which is just another basis as to why they mesh so well. 

 

With each member having their own personal musical escapades as independent artists, the existence of L.O.V.E. Culture was not purposefully in the cards for them (but it didn’t matter because fate was the one driving this ship.) With an artist showcase, No Filter, featuring Ch́e, EASYin2D, Flash the Samurai, Spirit XII and Rob Mari – it was the first time that they all were able to meet in one setting. The show highlighted the unparalleled talents that make each artist tick and was met with much support — not only just from the crowd — but from each other as well. 

 

One by one, after each set, they respectively stood in the front of the stage to show support for their fellow artists. No feelings of envy or insecurity were in attendance that night, just admiration and genuine champion for each other’s craft; further confirming the unwavering authenticity they all possess. A natural synergy was born that same night with collaborations being formed as a result.

 

As Mari began to work on his own album, he had the desire to feature the lot — with each artist asked to bring their own presence to a song. What started off as individual features transformed into a hive mind. And what started off as scheduled days in the studio turned into a place of secondary residence.  

 

Several months later the project was completed and another showcase awaited — this time the powerhouses combined forces to produce a memorable performance. Despite them still not being an official collective at the time, they were met with so much love and espousal. 

 

“Before I would see artists perform and then dip,” said Ch́e. “I wasn’t used to seeing that support. I realized that is what I was missing and didn’t see when performing in other cities that I was traveling to.” 

 

This comradery between performers wasn’t necessarily always present. A “crabs-in-a-bucket” mentality was often associated with the artists in Jacksonville — even though that didn’t represent the thinking behind most.

 

“We’re flipping that narrative,” echoed Mari. “You can get yours in this city.” 

 

I can truly say that the collective wants to see other Jacksonville artists win. With the music industry being so full of competition, this attitude lacks on many stages and studios but, L.O.V.E. is watering an ecosystem that allows for the development and expansion of the arts in this city. 

 

“We want other artists to be a part of what we have. We vouch for others and how artists should be paid. We vouch for the value of our art and Black art in Jacksonville.” 

 

Six nods followed behind this statement, indicating they were all in agreement when it comes to curating a legacy — not only just for themselves — but also attributing to the progression in the realm of — and not only just music —  but also community, infrastructure and legacy.

 

“We’re determined to show the world how diverse and complex Jacksonville’s identity is,” said Ch́e. “It often gets pigeon-holed by bad press, violence …” 

 

“And the Jags losing!” Flash chimed in.

 

“And the Jags losing! But the people here are well aware of what we’re working against, but we believe in the evolution of what this city can be,” Ché continued.

 

This spirit of drive and aspiration is what will make this group soar to do amazing things for our city. So many people often complain about the “lack thereof” but don’t stop to see the beautiful people, experiences and capacities that occupy the spaces around us. 

 

“You can be the solution to the problem,” said Flash. “If you want to change something, do the necessary work!”

 

As a group of individuals that can produce music radiating chemistry that’s so organic and results in the bearing of fruits that cannot go rotten, it gives me hope for the future of music.

 

With a sound that’s ever-changing, L.O.V.E. Culture cannot be contained to the definitive realm of hip-hop and rap. I think we all agreed that ‘neo-hop’ would be a better descriptor for their sound but, even then I don’t think it captures the exploration and experimentation they carry out – although they do attribute influence to hip-hop groups such as The Fugees and Wu-tang Clan. 

 

“I would say our sound is upbeat,” Ch́e affirmed. “But also intentional, confident and sp—”

 

“Spirit led!” a sentiment they all resounded together, followed by an exchange of soft laughter. A moment that felt like a wash of confirmation. Prayers and their zeal keep this collective in motion as well (along with their wicked skillsets, of course) as they continue to shoot to eminence with spiritual protection and guidance. 

 

Humble yet self-assured, hungry and non-complacent is the best summary I can give you to describe this group of individuals. With future plans to continue to push the envelope when it comes to their sound and their desire to win a Grammy, I foresee all of these goals — and more coming to fruition in no time. It’s always a pleasure to pick the brains of creatives who genuinely love what they do because beyond the promise of fame and wealth, there is the highest esteem of producing music that leaves a legacy, not only for themselves but for the generations that follow. 

 

Their music is made with so much intention that it is like a big “pot of gumbo: — a mix of everyone bringing their own components to create the most delectable sound. Some days it’s gumbo with rice, others it’s gumbo with shrimp, and sometimes it’s the whole damn kitchen sink. These musical chefs know when to add and subtract, and that’s the beauty of collaboration with this particular group.

 

“We create with each other in mind. Sometimes it requires you to be selfless at times. Would the song benefit from you being on it or allowing someone else to take the lead?”

 

A true example of what it means to aid in artistry that is considerate and conscious. 

 

Again, I have to emphasize on the vibrancy, that is L.O.V.E. Culture. 

 

Their latest EP, “Vol. 3,” is out now on various streaming platforms. You (yes, you reader) need to pull out your phone, mp3 player, cassette tape and/or radio and give this dynamic ensemble a listen. You won’t be let down, I can confidently promise you that.

 

You can find L.O.V.E. Culture, as well as their individual platforms listed below. 

 

Instagram: @weareloveculture

Apple Music:  L.O.V.E. Culture 

Spotify: L.O.V.E. Culture 

 

Ch́e

Instagram: @allofche

 

Rob Mari:

Instagram: @bxbbybvby 

 

Flash the Samurai 

Instagram: @flashthesamurai

 

SpiritXIII

Instagram: @spiritxiii

 

EASYin2D

Instagram: @easyin2d

 

DJ Larry Love

Instagram: @iamdjlarrylove

 

 

 

 

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