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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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The Pot issue 2011

Morning's first light

From Kenya to the Katakombz, Phat Kat smokes beats like blunts

Photo: , License: N/A

Phat Kat: Not your average stoner.

Ronnie Watts is a rapper, not your average line cook lyricist — not even close. His fans know him as Phat Kat, and so do most of your favorite rappers. Soaring under the radar, Phat Kat has maintained a reputation for murdering microphones for more than a decade. He's Detroit through and through. Collaborations with the prodigious producer J Dilla and Slum Village embossed his name on the slate of rapper's rappers. His more current cuts — produced by Black Milk, Nick Speed, Jake One and, recently over beats by an 18-year-old kid from London called Agor — keep him incredibly close to the top of that list. 

Sharing a track with Phat Kat is a hard task, and it's sometimes just not in the best interest of lesser emcees. He's got it like that. He doesn't drink. He doesn't smoke cigs. He can't be found popping bottles in a booth in the back of the club, after hours. His hustle is too tough. His mind is too sharp. Dude is up at the ass-crack of dawn every day, even on tour. Devoted to a disciplined regimen, Watts is a highly remarkable — and more often than not remarkably high — rapper

Heavily blunted. Stoned. Weeded. Faded. 

Watts subscribes to a set of early-riser rituals. At 6:30 in the morning, the alarm clock wakes him. Soon after he washes up, a pungent and familiar fragrance permeates his apartment in downtown Detroit. 

The source of the earthy-sweet aroma is an open glass jar, like a bulk-sized pickle jar but with a lid that buckles to the side, like the Grolsch beer bottle. And much like the taste and smell of any green-bottled Dutch pilsner, the smell from his jar has a skunky waft. 

Before long, his fingers are busy breaking up buds of top-grade marijuana, which Watts has plenty of. His fingers are sticky. 

Listening to instrumental hip-hop beats with a pack of RAW brand double-wide rolling papers at the ready, Watts reverts to muscle memory and twists up a joint, lickity-split, the first spliff of the day is sparked.

Then it's off to the gym, and it's not even 7 in the morning.

Yes, you could say Ronnie Watts is a seasoned herbologist: a connoisseur of the chronic. But he's most definitely not your average stoner.

"Ritualistic is one way to put it," says Watts. "I've always gotten up early. And I've been enjoying a little weed in the morning for a minute. But a couple years ago, I shot a video, and when I saw myself, I was like, 'Damn, man, you gotta get your ass in that gym.' It got folded into the routine." 

Regular weed smokers are split on the pre-workout puff. Some get paranoid, thinking that everyone in the gym probably knows they're stoned and thinks they look weird on the elliptical. Others say they get freaked out once their heart starts beating very hard, because you can really feel the sonic resonance of its pounding in your chest. Then there are those who say that with an increased heart rate and more intense breathing rhythm, the high is multiplied or takes on a different nuance altogether. 

When Watts is back home from the gym, showered and whatnot, it's time for the morning's second smoke session. 

"That's right around 9:30," he says. "Between then and noon, I get pretty much all the day's business taken care of: calls, e-mails, all that. The rest of the day is all mine. When I finish the last bit of business, yeah, it might be time to roll something up."


Pot has a rich history as being used as a social sacrament. Long before "Phat Kat," when Ronnie was around 15, he and a handful of cousins packed into an uncle's van. His uncle sat in the front and put a flame to a blunt and it was passed around.

"When it came to me, I hit it. I didn't mind it. But I didn't really get it. It made me laugh a lot, so that was fun. But it wasn't till a few years later that it really hit me, like, damn — I am in love with Mary Jane."

Watts says he must have been about 18 years old when it became apparent that he was to be a devoted consumer of the sweet green leaf. 

"I was sitting up in bed, listening to either EPMD or Big Daddy Kane. I had a record cover on my lap and used it to break up and sort out the weed. Probably had some Zig-Zags. I had this joint, started smoking it and was really listening to this music — like, really listening to it — listening to every little part. Focusing in on them one at a time. I went deep into the music, smoking that joint. It hit me. I was all about it."

And the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

"The weed's gotten a whole lot better since then, but I'm still that guy who's smoking with friends and there's music on in the background and I hear something, or at least I think I hear something, and it gets me, and then I want to rewind it and see if it's something only I heard or if everyone can hear it. Did ya'll hear that sound right there? Right there! Hear that? Yeah, man. That shit's crazy right there." 

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