"The Polkadotted Stripe" defined:
The concept of The Polkadotted Stripe derived from the world of fashion. Wearing stripes and polka dots in concert is a fashion faux pas. However, very few people question why the combination of the two can prove disastrous to a clothing ensemble. Delving deep into research, Jaspects learned that the fashion truth bastardizing the marriage of polka dots and stripes is manmade. Therein lies the question that The Polkadotted Stripe examines: “What is truth?” Upon much discussion and studying, Jaspects recognized that in most instances the truth and in turn reality is—well, relative.
To some, this may be a startling revelation. Upon further introspection, it is clear that most Americans advocate for finding “relative” reality even though they may not exercise the product of their advocacy. In the United States of America, freedom is the prized jewel of citizenry. Freedom defined is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” In that context, the fashion commandment of polka dots and stripes being counter to each other appears to be more the product of cultivated mass compliance than edict. Viewing life in the spectrum of summarized “conventional wisdoms” passed down through generations, across cultures and through classes; one will notice how civilization has been molded into a plethora of rules that we as people tend to accept without much debate. Jaspects’ The Polkadotted Stripe looks to cross-examine the ideas that many of us hold as truth without challenge.
In reality, truth is neither black nor white, but lies somewhere in-between. Likewise, viewing both stripes and polka dots together forces us to reveal the ugly truths of our past and confront the problems of the present. There is power and promise in the gray area that separates the two colors. For the sake of convenience, we tend to look at reality in terms of polka dots or stripes. But in order to be truly free, one must attack issues with anxious curiosity and wrestle with the less tailored facets of life.
“The Polkadotted Stripe” is something that debunks the notion of social standards. “The Polkadotted Stripe” is someone who sees things outside of the proverbial box on a consistent basis and challenges the status quo. Throughout its career, Jaspects has managed to do just that by fusing genres fluidly without adhering to the music industry’s antiquated idea of conforming artistry into static classifications. With its history as a free-flowing entity, it is clear why many see Jaspects as a liberating musical force, focused on destroying the “genre discrimination” rampant in the world of music.
As Mitchell Martin puts it, “cool is the new lame and different is the new same.” For a hip hop culture preoccupied with being cool, the aforementioned quote speaks volumes. In Jaspects’ rulebook, there is only one criterion for coolness:
You are not cool if you are not free; you are not free if you cannot see the polkadotted stripes.
--Jeff “PK” Cohran
More about Jaspects:
Born during the hip-hop movement, Jaspects integrates their youthful skill to progress music and build a bridge between musical genres. Formally trained alumni of Morehouse College’s music department, Jaspects’ goal is to produce an exhaustive musical experience that involves TRUE freedom of expression via musical and lyrical creativity.
Jaspects’ latest album The Polkadotted Stripe embodies Jaspects’ thesis as it interrogates the idea of musical, social, and political freedom. The concept of the group’s fourth effort procures from the world of fashion. Delving deep into research, Jaspects learned that the fashion truth bastardizing the marriage of polka dots and stripes is man-made. Therefore, Jaspects’ The Polkadotted Stripe inquires: “What is truth?” Upon much discussion and studying, Jaspects recognized that in most instances reality is well, relative. With that in mind, The Polkadotted Stripe defined is someone or something that debunks the notion of social standards.
“PDS’” single "Unifunk" is an example of Jaspects’ trademark genre-bending production. Techno meshed with soulful horns, a grooving bass line, and T. Brown's futuristic vocoder stylings engulf "Unifunk" and provide an opportunity for serious social commentary to entrench the listener during this dancer's delight. "Unifunk's" lyrics focus on the state of the world today and spread the message of unity through "universal funk" or "Unifunk."
Jaspects works to rescue the concept of musicianship while breaking down the structural constraints of hip-hop. The band promotes the idea that the culture of hip-hop can support an entity that focuses on musical depth without ostracizing the mainstream fan of the genre. Jaspects uses music as a change agent in ways pioneers such as Public Enemy, Erykah Badu, and Marvin Gaye have. The message conveyed by Jaspects remains consistent, "make your music mean something to the world at-large."
The band operates out of Atlanta and consists of T. Brown (Memphis, TN), Jon-Christopher Sowells (Dallas), drummer Henry “HC3” Conerway, III (Detroit), Dwayne “Spacey” Dugger (Queens, NY), Stagolee (Aniston, AL), and King James (Stamford, CT). In addition to PDS, Jaspects has released three other independent albums: In ‘House’ Sessions (2005), Broadcasting the Definition (2006), and Double Consciousness (2007).
Individually, Jaspects’ works have appeared in the 2005 major motion picture “Hustle & Flow,” on Chamillionaire’s platinum albums “Chamillitary” and “Sound of Revenge,” on Carlos Santana’s “All That I Am,” and with platinum recording artists David Banner, Wyclef Jean, Big Boi (“Kryptonite”), and Mary J. Blige (“Just Fine”). Collectively, Jaspects has shared bills with: Dwele, Bilal, Mike Phillips, Herbie Hancock, Eric Roberson, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, and rap phoneme Drake. Jaspects has also collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists Janelle Monae, PJ Morton and Anthony David, in addition to Kedar Entertainment act Algebra, and Good Music’s Fonzworth Bentley.
CNN featured four selections of Jaspects’ music on their 2008 documentary “Black in America.” Jaspects is a two-time selection for “Best Atlanta Band” by Creative Loafing newspaper (2007 and 2008) and “Future of Jazz” winners (2006 and 2007) for the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featured Jaspects in January 2009 as a headliner for the Millennium Stage Series.