Hepcats: Soul Reflect’s “Plato’s Theory”
“Hepcats” is a recurring feature that zeroes in on talented up-and-coming rap, hip hop, and spoken word artists in the Twin Cities in an effort to raise awareness of those “underground” stars. It’s the brainchild of Benjamin Werner and Kenta Yamamoto. For this installment, Werner and Yamamoto dove into “Plato’s Theory” a record by local producer/MC Soul Reflect.
The Greek philosopher Plato wondered, what drives our actions? To answer this question, Plato created the allegory of the chariot, a theory in which a chariot is led by two horses‒‒emotion and desire‒‒and controlled by a charioteer representing reason. But what does the allegory of the chariot have to do with Twin Cities hip hop?
In her debut album Plato’s Theory, Minneapolis artist Soul Reflect examines the dichotomy between heart and mind in a divided world. To her, the heart often wants something different from the mind‒‒and these competing desires paint a vivid picture within her lyricism as she touches on the intricacies of life. Soul Reflect uses this approach to tackle themes of racial identity, optimism, and resilience. Her music is raw and colorful; beautiful and sad.
Soul Reflect’s track “Melanin” explores the issues of police violence with an emphasis on her own identity and the events occurring in Minnesota. She references the shooting of Jamar Clark, and highlights crucial pieces of history such as the emancipation proclamation that have played into the greater theme of race in America. “Free us, let my people go; turn off the light, let this darkness show,” Soul Reflect exclaims in the hook to describe her pride for her racial background. In the rest of the song she outlines the personal experience of her journey towards self-acceptance and understanding of her mixed racial identity, providing a multi-layered perspective towards what it means to be black in America.
Her attitude holds true on the track “Still Smiling” where she expresses uncompromising positivity in the midst of hardship. Soul Reflect raps: “I stand in silence, covered in diamonds. Despite the demons, my heart is a giant. I smile for ya, I smile for ya.” Soul Reflect expressed that she smiles not because she feels she needs to or on others’ behalf, but rather that she smiles because she chooses to. She explained, “That’s me. I’ve always been able to find light out of the darkness. I feel like I’m that strong friend. People lean on me a lot, and I actually feel joy being able to make people feel better.” She describes being able to help others as something that motivates her to continue writing.
In her spare time, Soul Reflect works with Beats by Girlz to teach production skills to young women in the Twin Cities. You can catch Soul Reflect at a plethora of local shows, detailed below:
“Didn’t You Know… The Ladies Love Dilla” kicking off the 6th Annual Twin Cities Dilla Days hosted by Desdamona, featuring Rah Digga, Soul Reflect, Jayso Creative, Katana Da Don, Solo Star, Meah Ismail, and DJ Cassieopia at VFW Uptown on Friday, June 14
$20.00 advance | $25.00 doors
9PM – 2AM
21+ / ID Required
Beats By Girlz Youth Producer Showcase Performance showcase by Beats By Girlz participants and their instructors Tanya Leigh and Soul Reflect at Slam Academy on Sunday, June 30 suggested donation $5.00 (additional proceeds contribute to scholarships)
4PM – 5PM
All ages welcome
DJ Cam Jones presents: H.E.R. Trap Kitchen | All female HipHop Showcase
H(Heroic) E(Empowered) R(Relentless) at Nomad World Pub on Sunday, June 30
10PM – 2AM
21+ / ID Required
You can listen to her album, Plato’s Theory, here.