On the eve of hip hop’s 44th birthday, OG Thursdays was beginning to push forward with their third installment of the beat battle. With Nighthawks being the new hip hop hub, DJ Shotgun and Paten Locke welcomes everyone in each Thursday evening at 10 p.m. with warm elements of hip hop. While going through the structured maze of the venue, you’ll end up at a “bridge” that’ll take you to the patio area.

Back there, Flash and Rob were speaking lightly to each other. “Yo I like them pants man!” said the upbeat but mellow Flash. Rob, with his extremely mellow stance, remained humble. Shortly after, Cheech Forreign and EASY join the party. The L.O.V.E. Culture is bridging, figuratively.

The L.O.V.E. Culture entertainers consist of EASY, Flash the Samurai, Cheech Forreign and Rob Mari. Not in attendance was Spirit and Kyle Dorrell aka Weighed Sailor. The other affiliates consist of Goldsoul, Nostal, DeeT’Or Visions, and Larry Wakefield — aka DJ Larry Love. Rob Mari and Kyle Dorrell are noted as the brains behind the group’s formation, from their name to the sole idea of even being together. Rob dubbed the formation as the “Justice League of Duval,” and rightfully so.

“L.O.V.E.” is the acronym for “league of vibrant energies” and “culture” is used to bring everything from their respects of each other to their tailored talents. “We all just bring this certain type of element to the table and we help each other grow,” Flash said. Per Cheech, they all met at a show setting being on the same bill. She reflected on seeing them each perform, and after that evening, she wondered what it would be like if they collectively came together. That curiosity turned into reality, and it eventually spawned their collaboration album titled Fluidity. The 12-track album, available on SoundCloud, was originally supposed to be a project masterminded for Rob, but after some time, it turned into a joint effort. “It was supposed to be just features but we restructured it,” Rob said about the record.

For the group to have just started this year in February, they’ve had the pleasure of presenting themselves on various Jacksonville stages — even hosting their own summer tour, which placed them in various cities around the state like Orlando and St. Augustine. “We even rocked a coffeehouse bruh,” said each of them excitedly. In late July this year, they also had the opportunity to be the special guests at OG Thursdays, putting on an extraordinary performance. To top it off, when they all did their own solo songs, you could feel the room gravitate more towards them as a unit, and definitely on an individual level.

To bridge into their solo moves, they all have individual aspirations aside from their work with L.O.V.E. Culture. Beginning with Flash, he’s set to release a “Heisenberg-inspired” video filmed by Weighted Sailor (who also filmed and directed the group’s latest video “Affirmation“) at the top of September, which will “bridge” into his solo works coming in the winter.

Rob stated he’s releasing his funk/jazz/soul-infused project Easter Sunday at the beginning of 2018. Cheech will be on some future independent movie soundtracks piloted by director Carlos “Los2K” (SoulHood) and Chad Hendricks (Me and Mrs. Jones), and she’s heavily in creative mode with “some new.” “I’m gonna change the world, I’m serious,” Cheech said. EASY reassured us he’s currently working on two projects along with the general lyrical exercises musical emcees do without effort or thought. He also “bridges” in that The L.O.V.E. Culture will possibly be working on a sophomore installment.

When asked where they see Duval’s hip hop scene in 5 years, they all gave various but promising replies. “We’re changing the narrative,” Cheech expressed. EASY adds on that he sees himself and his crew “wherever they want to be.” Following that statement was enough courage, wisdom and conviction to shatter any doubts of a downfall. They’re also amped of the forthcoming of Duval’s hip hop future. “It’ll be lit as f***, it’ll be amazing, it’ll be accepting, it’ll be more creative than where it is, it’ll be huge!” Cheech said. They made many mentions about the “crab pot” that magically exists here by stating there isn’t one and that the group will definitely be in the forefront.

They, for sure, will be the refreshing wind on the bridge that they’re building, connecting more of themselves to each other and for consumers inside and outside of the culture to cross over and enjoy the works of all. Within all of this, it’ll push more energy to be great within themselves. What a perfect way to bridge some gaps.

For more information on their shows and to check out some of their music, videos, pictures and other tools they use to form their strong bridge, check out the links below. You can also hear the audio portion of this interview at The Groove Suite Podcast, located on hiphopandhookah.com, iTunes and Mixcloud.

Facebook: Official: Love Culture facebook.com/LOVECultureOfficial
Instagram: @ourloveculture instagram.com/ourloveculture
Twitter: @OurLOVECulture twitter.com/ourloveculture
Soundcloud: L.O.V.E. Culture soundcloud.com/lovecultureofficial