Skip to content

Jpop not all about the pop

May 11, 2006

Japanese pop music is no longer the saccharine landscape colored with prefab girl groups and androgynous rock singers (also, message to rock critics, noise bands aren’t the only ones making noise). R&B and Rap are increasingly popular sales wise and influence wise. Here are a few You Tube samples of what’s out there over there, starting with:

Koda Kumi – turned from pop singer wanna-be to a very wealthy R&B styled performer with a risqué streak. Not surprisingly the American otaku community finds her overt sexuality too Western. Guys, girls, time to step away from the anime DVDs and see what is happening to real people. This cut features the duo Soulhead.

Namie Amuro – very popular Okinawan chanteuse who perhaps pioneered the move away from more pop oriented dance songs to R&B. She always seems a bit tired to me, though, like she’s been up all night. Guess it’s hard being a single mom.

M-Flo was one of the first urban music bands out of Japan I heard. Though there music tends toward pop/dance (owes to their chart success) they epitomize hip-hop in that their crew is made up of Japanese ethnic minorities, a Korean MC (Verbal, one of my favorites) and a Japanese-Columbian singer (Lisa Ono, who has since left the band to solo success). This PV features Crystal Kay, a Korean/Japanese-African American singer.

King Ghidora – one of the old school of Japanese rap music. This clip features fellow old schooler Zeebra (often called a DMX siphon)

Q – never heard of this cat before, but pretty tight on the mic he is.


K Dub Shine – Trying his hand at “underground” rap. A lot of Japanese DJ’s have been doing the kind of beats that underground stalwarts like RJD2 and others have made popular over here.

Double – for awhile, was one of the very few Japanese artists doing what we’d consider soul music over here, not really a whiff of the pop influences that color a lot of what is considered R&B in Japan. She used to perform with her sister, who died, hence the name “Double.” Also one of the best singers in Japanese music. Interesting to see her dancing around like this, she’s had a more reserved image in the past. The times, as I’m saying, are a changing.

Finally, Toshinobu Kubota, the dean of soul singers in Japan. He’s made a couple of stabs at making noise in the states, putting out two English language records. I think only BET paid attention to him. Too bad, he’s pretty talented.

Advertisements
5 Comments leave one →
  1. jack permalink
    May 20, 2006 5:51 am

    Crystal Kay is Korean and African American.

  2. KusMoG permalink
    July 21, 2006 10:37 pm

    Lisa is Colombian(mother’s side)/Japanese(father’s side)
    King Giddra came out about at least 4-5 years before m-flo.
    K Dub, or everyone coming outta King Giddra (K Dub, Zeebra, DJ Oasis) started out doing underground rap in 95… even before that they did acts in Cali in the underground hip hop scene.

    Q and KG aren’t really considered jpop… they’re not mainstream. Q’s also from a rap group called Rappagariya. Rappawho, u say? it’s cuz they ain’t jpop. Koda Kumi and Amuro Namie are the perfect examples though of how jpop ain’t all about pop.

  3. July 21, 2006 11:35 pm

    I know about Rappagariya. He was one of the first Japanese MCs I heard. I’m not a huge fan of his though.

    Q and KG aren’t really considered jpop… they’re not mainstream. Q’s also from a rap group called Rappagariya. Rappawho, u say? it’s cuz they ain’t jpop. Koda Kumi and Amuro Namie are the perfect examples though of how jpop ain’t all about pop.

    Which is why the title of the post is, Jpop not all about the pop.

  4. January 18, 2008 10:44 pm

    No Ken Hirai?

  5. January 19, 2008 7:28 pm

    Nah. Ten years ago, definitely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: