Hip-Hop Duo FreshProduce Keeps It ‘Fresh, Local & Equitable’
On a calm Tuesday evening in the Westside’s Hingetown neighborhood, local artists Brittany “DJ Red-I” and Samantha “Playne Jayne” Flowers are working on sprucing up their newly acquired record shop, Young Kingz.
Playne Jayne hangs up album covers on the wall as Red-I completes some tasks behind the desk and provides the sounds in the atmosphere. Collectively, the duo is known as FreshProduce. The women have seen success in the past, Red-I is one of the more popular deejays in the city and Playne Jayne is a member of hip-hop crew LMNTL.
The record shop is the latest in a string of achievements for the ladies who have only been functioning as a group for less than two years but have already seen their talents take them across the pond to Europe and back to Cleveland.
In addition to the store and their other achievements, FreshProduce is part of a organization that was awarded a grant by the Kresge Foundation in an effort to contribute to the strengthening of economic vitality, cultural expression and health in the Garden Valley neighborhood through a program called FreshLo, which is short for Fresh, Local & Equitable.
The ladies decided to work with each other earlier this year at Muamin Collective’s annual RBG Christmas show at Grog Shop, and they haven’t looked back.
“[The local hip-hop act] LMNTL was performing on stage, and I went up to Sam, and I said, ‘You and me should link up,'” Red-I says. “She thought I was crazy, but I had a vision and I saw something in her. I knew I had some interesting beats that I could pair well with her vocal style. By the following February we started doing some collaboration efforts. We just had sessions at my house and we were only supposed to do one or two things just to see what would happen, but we ended up making our first project, We Are FreshProduce.”
The group’s unique name is a representation of how healthy its music is for the mind, body and soul.
“FreshProduce came from basically talking in the kitchen and we were talking about what’s good for the body as far as music goes,” Jayne says. “It’s organic. Brittany said that these other people out here are like McDonald’s and we’re like the fresh produce, and I said that’s it!”
“McDonald’s meaning that everyone is prefabricated, put together, trying to be something that they’re not or people are always looking for a quick fix or a shortcut to making good stuff,” Red-I adds. “Not saying that it takes forever to make good music, but you can hear that a lot of people don’t take the time to dig deep and make something that pulls feeling from people. For example, you eat something and it tastes great, but if you can activate smell or you feel something, that’s how you know when it’s good. When you hear a song that you really like, it makes you see certain colors or gives you chills. These things you don’t hear, but it opens your other senses. That’s what we prided ourselves on. They have a fast food, Mickey D’s approach to their art and ours is all organic. We give it time to grow, we water it, you put it in good soil, you give it enough sunlight and we don’t try to force anything.”