It took me a long time but I’ve finally discovered Kendrick Lamar after repeatedly viwing his music videos on youtube. Kendrick and a lot of Japanese hip hop have been my music of choice recently. Most of Japanese indie rock sound like everything I hate about indie music in the Anglophone world. Most of jpop sounds like late 90s, early 2000s pop/rnb but with even more cheese and dance routines that are really just dynamic posing. So finidng cool hip hop music feels like it revives the shallow hole that is mainstream Japanese music.
The Japanese female artists I love blend genres, including elements of jpop, but they do so in a way that you can still enjoy the music without feeling like your thirteen year old cousin isn’t coercing you to listen to it. I enjoy a lot of music from Japanese producers Tofubeats, Seiho, Esno and Evisbeats however this blog post won’t be focusing on the menfolk. Nor will it be focusing on Japanese music, what a red-herring you’ll say. This is a playlist all about women rhyming and rapping.
I live under a rock when it comes to popular culture. I don’t really know who’s new and who’s big but I know what I like. Little Simz is probably one of my favourite artists at this moment. I saw her originally in a channel four music programme called ‘Four to the Floor’. I only really explored her music recently but I have a lot of respect and admiration for her already. Up there with my favourites are Noname Gypsy who has a sugary flow and a certain obscurity that only makes her more and more interesting. Izumi Makura (泉まくら) is a Japanese rapper who has another buttery soft voice but a certain strength, all I’ve seen of her is melancholy drawings and having learned of her after obsessing over a song in an advert on which she features I found solace in the beauty of her music. Suiyoubi no Campanella (水曜日のカンパネラ) is an outfit with Koumai as the vocalist, alternating between rapping and singing – the music is brilliant and her flow is unique, as unique as their amazing and outlandish videos. Kate Tempest is another artist that I find inspiring, making it big amongst the spoken word poetry scene, I was lucky to see her perform live at the Hammer & Tongue National Poetry Slam and even without music she has a hip hop flow to her delivery. She’s worked on plays and has broadened out to recording albums with Big Dada Sound.
So here’s the playlist. Hope you enjoy jamming to it. Just some music, some musings…
- Kate Tempest – The Beigeness
- Awkwafina – NYC Bitche$
- 水曜日のカンパネラ – 千利休 (Suiyoubi no Campanella – Sen no Rikyu)
- Aina More – Girls Killing It
- Angel Haze – Impossible
- Dominique Young Unique – Throw It Down
- Lady Leshurr – Shurraq
- Little Simz – Dead Body
- Rapsody – The State of The Union
- Noname Gypsy – Open Apology (ft. Saba)
- Nitty Scott MC – Flower Child (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
- Jean Deaux – Escape (ft. Saba)
- Esno & Daoko – 夕暮れパラレリズム (Dusk Parallelism)
- 泉まくら – Balloon (Izumi Makura – Balloon)
- Kilo Kish – Indigo’s July
- OSHUN – Stuck