Origins of Halloween

jackolantern displayFor many of us, Halloween is a special holiday, harkening back to our childhood, flooding our memories with costumes and candies of years gone by. For those of us that still celebrate as adults it can be even more fun. But where do all the traditions that make this holiday so particular come from? Where does the idea of celebrating the creepy, the hidden, the spooky and the monsterous originate?

Though the holiday has taken pieces from a few different places, the chief progenitor of Halloween is the Celtic holiday known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). It’s a festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of Winter and while it’s difficult to determine how early it was celebrated, it appears in Irish literature as early as the 9th century. In those appearances it is already a well-known tradition and a temporal marker. One theory posits that it relates back to when the Irish and other British Isle natives were a pastoral people, dependent on the schedule of their herds that would be led back down from the northern feeding plains around November 1st. It is an important event in many different Irish mythologies, indicating its existence earlier still.

In addition to celebrating the previous harvest and preparing for the coming Winter, Samhain was a time of celebration of the Dead, as they were thought to be able visit with the living before moving to the Otherworld. The Aos Si , fairies for lack of a more complete term, were also thought to be able to move among the world of the living more easily during the time of the festival and offerings of food and drink were often left to appease the spirits. It was a time of increased activity in the spirit world, a precursor to the supernatural and fantastic elements that define it today.

Samhain, Frankenstein, Jack-o-Lanterns and more ahead… READ ON…

Hip Hop Halloween Costumes

With Halloween upon us, choosing a costume is something with which we all at times have struggled. For us Hip Hop enthusiasts, there are plenty of fun, easy, often low-cost options to consider within Rap music’s spectrum that can lead to some entertaining discussions and even a freestyle session or two. With that in mind, we present our favorite 5 Rapper costumes. You tell us, trick or treat?

Run DMC 
The black top hat, the Adidas sweat suit and shelltoes, the thick gold chain, the black framed glasses. Few if any Rap groups are as iconic and easily recognizable as Run DMC. A pretty simple costume to pull off, but definitely a good one if you’re an Old School Rap fan. Even on Halloween, we can all be Down With The Kings.

Run DMCRun DMC Costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE for more Hip Hop Halloween costumes!

Another Banner Year – A Basketball Poem

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The Fall Classic’s almost over, football season’s mid-way through
Hockey has begun in earnest but for fans like me and you
Though we appreciate the diamond, the gridiron, and the ice
There’s a cavity that can’t be filled until opening night
For that game where tank top jerseys and shorts way down to the knees
Is the uniform of athletes with top-notch agility
And that time is now upon us, we’re no longer on the cusp
Basketball is back in all its glory, time to lace ‘em up
Play that soundtrack for the warm-up drills, the lay-up line is active
‘Cause at times we can’t help bring the funk, even if it’s just practice
Not the game that I go out there, die for, play like it’s my last
Not the game; we’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that?
Whether we go hard during scrimmages or use the time to heal
All that matters is that W so go all-out we will
CLICK HERE to continue reading ‘Another Banner Year – A Basketball Poem’

Jagged Thoughts #48: As Chemical Silence is Lifted

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As part of our ongoing collaboration with Oddball Magazine, each week we bring you the newest edition of “Jagged Thoughts”, the weekly column from the magazine’s founder and editor, Jason Wright.  This week, Wright explores his own mental state in a work called “As Chemical Silence is Lifted”.  Enjoy.

I’ll get through
Thinking the world is connected
By threes.
Thinking who do you want me to be?
What should I do?

It hurts my cerebellum.
When I see the future in present tense.
When I hear bangs of drums,
Or gas sets into the skies

When I can’t understand intelligence?
What letters spell logic?
I tried to read and gain culture.
And prayer is a cool thing.
My body melted, listening
To my heart’s violin strings sing.

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Click here for full poem

READ ON…

Stone Soup Servings Presents: DiDi Delgado

Stone Soup

Click here for more offerings from Stone Soup

Jason Wright’s Jagged Thoughts are a critical component to Oddball Magazine, but the  online magazine is more than one feature deep. Chad Parenteau’s Stone Soup Poetry, a poetry / spoken word open mic night whose origins in the bay era date back a few decades, is another crucial piece of the Oddball puzzle. Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Monday nights at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery, located at now at 541 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square Cambridge, MA. The night consists of featured poets sharing their art, but all are welcomed to participate as there is also an open mic sign-up at 7:30 p.m.

With that in mind we at JP Lime Productions are happy to introduce Stone Soup Poetry to our readers. The following poem is from Stone Soup’s featured guest from this past Monday night, Boston area poet Didi Delgado, entitled ‘Seasons’. Enjoy.

Seasons

Spring inspires.
People, places and things like to bloom.
Blossom and burgeon.
Bright colors, blue skies
High pitched laughter, worries on a school vacation hiatus.
I remember this time last year, we didn’t know so much.
I never knew why it is
only some mornings
you can hear the birds sing
their songs.

CLICK HERE to finish reading ‘Seasons’ by Didi Delgado…

Rap Flashback – October

This month on the Rap Flashback we dissect recent contributions from Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar along with Old School album releases from Public Enemy, Common, Ghostface Killah, Mos Def, and the Diabolical Biz Markie. Don’t miss Professa join Scholar for an impassioned, albeit brief rendition of a Biz Markie classic and as always, all your prominent October Hip Hop Birthdays courtesy of your boys at JP Lime.

THE OCTOBER RAP FLASHBACK CONTAINS 3 SEGMENTS – CLICK HERE TO VIEW, LIKE, & SHARE EACH SEGMENT INDIVIDUALLY…

Hip Hop Psych – Can Rap Music Help Treat Depression?

Depression sucks. Plain and simple. At the risk of trying to come across as an expert on the subject, I’ll share a few statistics and direct you to this link , this one, and this last one for a more in-depth look at just how many people depression in all its forms affects. Roughly 9% of Americans suffer from some variation of depression, with major depressive disorder being the top cause of disability for 15 – 44 years olds, affecting almost 15 million Americans yearly. The most alarming statistic I came across is that though roughly 1 in 10 Americans suffer from sort of depression, only 20% of those with symptoms actually receive treatment for it. I’ve been on both sides of that fence, having received treatment and counseling when my depression was at its peak but having dealt with it since, choosing to fight it off on my own with no formal counseling and no antidepressants. Depression is a nemesis of mine, and when it rears its ugly head I lace up my bootstraps and go to battle. That of course is a metaphor. I’m also a writer / emcee, so I’m quite fond of metaphors. So while I don’t literally throw on some boots to go to war, I have at times written and almost always listen. Listen to who or what you may ask, if not a licensed medic? Hip Hop of course. I listen to Rap. And it usually helps. Usually… Sometimes it does more harm than good. Let me expound.

A buddy of mine who’s also a writer (though not of the emcee ilk, but rather a columnist for a prominent New England based online magazine) sent me this article which I recommend you read. The headline of the piece immediately piqued my curiosity. ‘Hip-hop therapy is new route to mental wellbeing, say psychiatrists.‘ “Really? Well that’s pretty cool,” I thought to myself. The subtext however, ‘Pharrell Williams song Happy highlighted for possible use in helping patients to tackle their own problems‘ admittedly made me skeptical. I’ve just really never liked that song too much. I always thought it was corny and my knee jerk reaction was, “You’re telling me Pharrel’s ‘Happy’ works as treatment for depression? No way!” At day’s end however, the connection is very real and personal to me. I love Rap music. I make Rap music. I write about Rap music. I struggle with depression. I often turn to Hip Hop (for better or worse) when I’m depressed. My intrigue was greater than my skepticism, so I continued reading.

The article’s focus is on the Hip Hop Psych project which aims to utilize Hip Hop as a “powerful vehicle for raising awareness of mental health.” hip-hop-psych-tmIt states that “hip-hop provides individuals with a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge that could be exploited to help people tackle their own psychological problems. There is an intrinsic awareness of issues connected with mental health in many forms of hip-hop.” Alright… I can see a connection there, but how exactly do these researchers interpret this? One of the women involved with the study, Becky Inkster, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University department of psychiatry goes on to explain that “many key rappers and hip-hop artists come from deprived urban areas which are often hotbeds for problems such as drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty, which are in turn linked to increased occurrences of psychiatric illnesses. These problems are rooted in their language and in their songs.” She concludes by stating, “hip-hop in general, and rap in particular, often carry messages that are much more complex than is generally appreciated. That makes it an ideal medium for helping individuals understand their psychological problems and for finding ways to deal with them.” The article notes that the therapy doesn’t just involve listening to Rap music, but also encouraging patients to write their own lyrics as a means of not only better understanding their current situation, but also forecasting where they’d like to be in the future.

I get that. I understand that many Rap lyrics do in fact deal with issues such as violence and poverty that can lead to depression. Also as I mentioned earlier, I’ve both listened to Hip Hop and written my own lyrics to help alleviate my depression in the past. Of course, my own experiences doing so have not been under formalized medical supervision. Reading this article however made me think about my history with depression and Hip Hop. My depression was diagnosed in my late teens, not long after I graduated high school. I may or may not have been depressed prior to graduating, I’m honestly not sure. What I do know is that it peaked during my freshmen and sophomore years in college.

Click here for more of Scholar’s experiences with depression and Hip Hop…

Snoop Dogg, One of a Kiz-ind

young snoop behind recording micThe memory of my first Hip Hop music purchase is crystal clear. I asked my Mom for it and she went and got it on cassette the next day, despite its bright black and white “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content” sticker only then rising to popularity. To this day I don’t know whether it was greater part ignorance to the incredibly graphic images contained within or the desire to let her son explore the new music genre that was emerging in Gangsta Rap, but one thing is clear: had my Mom not gone out and bought me The Chronic my life would be sincerely different. I’m sure much to the horror of my teacher Mr. Sperry, I brought “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” in on assignment to share our favorite song with my seventh grade music class. How bold for a quiet little white kid, eh? Or did my own ignorance to the adult themes play a role in this ambitious act? Mind you, seventh grade was my first year out of Boston Public schools and into the small, nerdy and largely Caucasian One True School. And there I was, alongside my future JP Lime partner, Space, bobbing to the sounds of Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg in front of 25 other 13-year-olds. This is a long-winded way of talking about one of the most instantly recognizable figures in Hip Hop, whose impact is immeasurable not just because of its size but because of its singular uniqueness. His style and identity are no gimmick but they are certainly trend-setting, for with every “izzle dizzle” and new nickname he gives himself (“Nemo Hoes aka Finding Nemo”) the one known as Snoop Dogg is every bit himself, someone universally liked and respected, somewhat stunning given his gang affiliations and role in the East Coast West Coast feud of the 90’s (see the 1995 Source Awards). He is constantly in a process of re-invention and discovery, always in search of a new venue or enterprise to expand the Snoop brand, with varying levels of success but always with a hustler’s ambition that is not to be deterred. This past Monday, October 20th, marked the 43rd birthday of the man we’ve watched grow up with Hip Hop, from “Deep Cover” to Doggfather to Reincarnated as Snoop Lion, so roll ‘em if you got ‘em as we salute our Uncle Snoopy, the one and only Snoop Dogg.

As I said, Snoop’s work with Dr. Dre stands out sharply among the fog of my adolescent memories, one of the first few musical choices I made for myself, the beginning of my own Hip Hop history, and I can’t really pinpoint a source or inspiration other than Jam’n 94.5. I didn’t choose Hip Hop, it chose me and it did so in 1993. I remember photos of Dre and Snoop from the Source decorating my wall, and I can remember being confused by Dre’s White Sox hat but wanting one just the same. I knew every word of every Snoop verse on The Chronic, including all kinds of references and slang I wouldn’t understand for a decade, and I have a picturesque memory of my 13-year-old self playing “Stranded on Death Row” on my Walkman as I entered 7th grade home room. Mind you, I have a moderate degree of difficulty remembering the events of yesterday (we are in October, right?) but somehow Snoop was formative enough to deserve a permanent place in my psyche. Hell, just for the fun of it, you guys want to pause for a second a watch a video? Cool, me too.

Trevor Banks and Inet6: The Star

Here at #JPLMagazine we’re all about cross-promoting other folks who are working hard to bring you new and interesting content.

Trevor BanksTrevor Banks has been a DJ in the Boston area for 16 years. He first crossed paths with the Lime back in 2008 as part of Umass Lowell’s radio station WUML. It’s there that his Inet6: The Star (WSTR)  began, doing live shows with people like Clinton Sparks and Slip n Slide DJ’s as well as interviews with folks like DeVin The Dude, Tony Dofat, Statik Selektah, and Tony Sunshine. WSTR has now run independently online for the past five years and is looking to expand over the next decade.

You can follow Trevor and Inet6: The Star @inet6thestar and check out www.inet6thestar.blogspot.com for track lists, interviews and fashion.
Keep Liming!

Jagged Thoughts #47 – Hard Work Being Somebody

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Poetry’s not all fun and games for the poet. Sometimes the process of tapping into that inner-artistic space and the self-awareness it requires can take you to dark, maddening places. With that said, we present to you this week’s edition of Jason Wright’s Jagged Thoughts as he explores these very concepts, courtesy of our friends at Oddball Magazine. Enjoy.

1.

Relaxed, anxious,
Had my medication for breakfast
Sit listening to Ludwig, puff out his chest a bit,
And I am trying to listen intently
With little resent

Am I dying? I breathe in a cold calm,
My hands shake,
But I know I belong
Typing relentlessly at the keys,
Trying to understand madness.

A Scientist in the daytime, and bad at business
He falls quicker then the signs that we all have gone
To the wilderness.
That the simply joy he once had,
Has gone by with love and tenderness.
And the out of this mind poet,
Has had his medicine for breakfast.

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