ham-R インタビュー

about it Arial, sans-serif; margin:0; padding: 3px 4px; color:#999;”>MIXTAPE 142 – STAYING OCCUPIED by Mixtape Show / Dex Digital on Mixcloud


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INTROLUDE. Knxwledge. – Kafe @Knxwledge
5lack/Slack – ????
Hodgy Beats – Memorex Cds @killhodgy
Rimco – Chrono Trigger ‘Winds of Time’ OC Remix
Sticky – Where’s My Money
Snubnose Frankenstein – The 6th Man @ snubdogg
Key – KeyKey @keiopensdoors
OUTROLUDE. Holy Girl – How to Stay on the Ground (demo clip)

things changed radically for me in some ways and stayed the same in others. we must protect lil b at all costs. thanks to those who waited.

ham-R.

日本語ラップ・ファン、いや、日本の音楽の最先端に興味のある人ならこの名前を知らない人は多分いないと思う。だが、知られているのは名前と音楽だけで、他の事は謎が多い。映像を作るが滅多に画面に顔を出さない。いろんなところで話題になるが自分から自分の話はしないし、インタビューに滅多に答えないらしい。ツイッターはつかわない。ブログは1年前から放置状態。数ヶ月以内に4本ものミックステープを出し、また姿を消す。考えてみれば、それは2年前の話だ。

そう、突然STAY HUNGRY STAY FOOLISHを発表してから既に2年も経っているが、今聞いてもやばい(ご本人の意見はさておき)。

この一連の作品に圧倒され、アルバムに期待していた人は多いはず。わたしもそのひとりだった。

しかし、2年たってもアルバム出ないし、曲も出ない。いったい、ham-rはいま何している

ということで、本人に6つほどの質問を質疑応答形式で訊いてみた。これはもともとアメリカの雑誌の取材のために行われたインタビューなので、質問は若干「海外視点」になっているかもしれない。ただ、読み返してみたら興味深いものがあったので、本人の許可を得てここにもアップさせていただきました。

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まずは簡単な自己紹介をお願いします(出身、趣味、ラップ・プロデュースするようになったキッカケなど)

創作活動時の名をham-Rと申します。東京出身。趣味は特にございません。幼少時より映画監督になりたくて、映画に必要な要素を片っ端から習得しようとしたのが音楽活動のキッカケです。長年絵を描いていて芸術全般を勉強していたのですが、20歳位の時に音楽の制作も始めました。その流れで制作会社を立ち上げたり、PV監督を務めたりと、現在も映画を撮るための準備段階にあるような未熟者です。

僕の印象なんだけど、日本語ラップってここ3年までは、オンラインで、しかも無料の作品を出すのはあまり普通ではなかった。でもたとえばアメリカでは、かなり前から、ネットでミックステープを宣伝のツールとしてタダで出すのが当たり前になっています。そのギャップはどこからきたと思います?

なかなか難しい質問です。
日本の国民性は根本的に外来のものに対して閉鎖的なので、おそらくそれが本質的な要因でしょう。島国、小さな国土・高い人口密度であることによって国民の「安定性」に対する欲求が非常に強いので、本来大きな変化を受け入れる体質ではありません。クリエイター・アーティスト単位で言及すると、バイタリティーの低さ、それによる新しいネットインフラに対する認識の甘さが一因なのではないでしょうか。クリエイター・アーティストを支えるサポート側、いわゆる業界の人間というのは既存のシステムから逸脱することを嫌います。短期的には見込める収益を欠くのでプロモーションといえどなかなかフリーコンテンツを扱うインフラを整えようとは考えないものです。それは海外でも同様でしょう。
つまりプロモーションにも関わらず、クリエイター・アーティスト側が自ら動かなければ、「ネットを利用しプロモーションとしてフリーツールを展開する」という概念は発生しない訳です。
ただ、上記の国民性によるものなのか、日本のクリエイター・アーティストの間で、それがなかなか発生しませんでした。直接的なギャップをもたらした原因はそこにあるのかもしれません。

まえ、日本人はパソコンをあまり使わなくてむしろ携帯でネット・メールするとか、という話をした記憶があるんだけど、それも関与していると思います?

携帯の話は、いわゆるガラパゴス化現象を説明したかったのだと思います。ガラパゴス化が世界からの孤立化を招き様々な弊害を各方面に及ぼしていましたが、独自のネット自体は存在していましたし、ユニークな文化を形成できた一面もあるので、必ずしも大きな要因とは言えないかもしれません。

ミックステープの質問の続きですが、早い段階から無料でミックステープを出してた人として、当時の考えについて少し教えてください。

2009年、「A Day On The Way」という最初のミックステープを我が社から発表しました。当時僕の部下だったDJ UWAYこと現ユニバーサルミュージックA&R三上氏と考えていたのは形式の輸入です。質問1にあるような概念を日本で流布する簡単なきっかけ作りをしようとしたのです。三上氏が元々本場アトランタでDJとして活動していてサウスシーンに詳しかったので、内容もDJ DRAMAのGangsta Grillzを日本語で展開する様な設定でプロデュースしました。ただその概念の普及には時間がかかると思いましたし、普及してもすぐに形骸化するだろうという予想を当時から二人でしていました。

両シーンに詳しい人として、今の日本のミックステープの文化や、シーン全体について、海外の人に知ってほしいことなどをきかせてください。

特に今の日本のミックステープの文化や、シーン全体に詳しい訳ではないのですが、既述の予想通り、日本のミックステープシーン自体は形骸化してしまったように見えます。海外の方々にとって真新しいほどの現象は起きていないのではないでしょうか。日本において、シーンとは市場ではなくコミュニティーの様相を帯びています。そこに競争原理が働かなければ、シーンとして海外に紹介出来るほど成熟することは不可能でしょう。また、より的確に作品を理解し、解釈、体系化できる評論家も必要でしょう。

そんな中、シーンと呼べるのかわかりませんが、ニコニコ動画がやはり面白いです。
二次使用の面白さが特筆されがちですが、アマチュアクリエイターのプラットフォームとして、海外のどのサイトと比べても非常に優れていると思います。supercellの活躍は優れた一例なのではないでしょうか。ただし、体系化が難しく、不完全さとかなり限定された趣向が好まれるので。、まだその意味合いを海外に説明するのは難しいかもしれません。

特に影響を受けたアーティストを5人ほどあげるならば、誰かいます?

Hans Zimmer, apoplexy
D’angelo, health
Trevor Horn, view
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky,Jimi Hendrix,Skreamなどでしょうか。正直、挙げたらきりがないです。日本では中島みゆきの詩の世界に非常に感銘を受けました。

今注目している日本語ラップのアーティストは?
昔から日本語ラップをほとんど聴かないので何とも言えませんが、日本の他のジャンルを見渡しても、Cherry Brownは唯一オリジナリティーがあって面白いアーティストだと思います。それこそ、日本におけるフリープロモーションに関しては彼が先駆者です。彼が的確に動けば、もう少し意義のあるコンテクストを内包した文化が形成されると思います。

ham-rのことを全く知らない、でもラップは好き、という人に、一番オススメな曲は?ミックステープは?
私の今までの作品は実験的で、全て数日で制作した非常にお粗末な物なのでお勧めも特にございません。
来年におそらく最初で最後のアルバムを発表できると思いますが、是非そちらをお楽しみ頂けたらと思います。

Nihongo Rap Breakdown – Ep 131 Debriefing

Okay, recuperation so this is late, like everything else is on this site. Sorry.

But anyway, here we go with a breakdown for the last episode in the Nihongo Rap (=”Japanese Rap”) series – ep 131, “Hansei Shitemaasu“, which roughly translates to “I’m soooorrryyy”. The cuts are, in general, about regret, the past, and/or looking forward to the future.

You can play it below, or go check the original post here.

Note that this is only the tracklist – I will be breaking down the actual skit in a future article. You will want to read this.

In the meantime, though, let’s get with these tracks:

MINT – Isoganakya (Gotta Hurry). Somebody feel free to call me out on this, but I forget who actually did this cut first (seriously, someone remind me). Point is, though – it doesn’t matter, because this song is better than that song. @minchanbaby

Cherry Brown – Hayai (Pyuun!) (Fast (Zoom)). I’m not really sure why I didn’t put Cherry Brown in the first episode, but, well, here he is. I think he showed up in The Source Japan (yes, we had one, for like four months), but I lent that issue to my friend and can’t find it now. Cherry makes a lot of weird music – like, a lot – and also produces under the name of Lil’ Yukichi. He also happens to be one of the people who are spearheading this new wave of mixtapes in the Nihongo Rap scene. @twitter.com/cherrycherry_b

A-Thug – Ori no Naka (In the Pen). So this cut is, thematically, pretty easy to understand – references to Scarface, and dude talking about how he spent time in jail, and about his life selling crack. My favorite line:

ヘイズとエクスタシー
Heizu to ekusutashii
Haze and ecstasy

ブラッズとつるみ
Burazzu to tsurumi
Hanging with Bloods*

クラックを造り
Kurakku wo tsukuri
Cooking crack

ブロックを仕切り
Burokku wo shikiri
Running the block

グロックを握り、あ
Gurokku wo nigiri, ah
Gripping Glocks, uh

*I really hope that I’m hearing this incorrectly. Please, let this be wrong.

This sort of talk, of course, is completely unbelievable, and I will personally mail you a dollar if you are able to find five Japanese people that know what the word “Glock” even means. It still sounds cool, though, which is what matters. m/athugscars

AKLO – Chance. From the Aklo 2.0 mixtape, which I recommend – if only for dude’s version of “Forever”. Incidentally, Aklo is also partially the inspiration behind me even doing this series – we had more than a few conversations about the state of Nihongo Rap, and own stance on the importance of mixtapes. Very, very bright dude. This isn’t the best song on the tape, by far – it just fit the theme. m/aklosound

GAGLE – Yuki no Kakumei (Snow Revolution). I swear I’ve heard this sample somewhere – does anyone have any leads? Anyway, Gagle is a pretty respected part of the scene, despite their being from Sendai. I should probably talk more about this at some point, but for a very long time, the general understanding was that if it wasn’t from Tokyo, it wasn’t hip-hop, and it wasn’t worth listening to (though you could argue that Hokkaido natives Tha Blue Herb straightened that out three years before this jawn dropped). This cut is easily my favorite off their 3 Men On Wax record. gagle.jp

PRIMAL , DJ Kohaku, CHIYORI, 02 – Butaiura (Greenroom). Off of DJ Muta’s Character Pack mixtape – which, if you can find, is pretty good. The beat is People Under The Stairs’ Acid Raindrops – and I keep saying this, but seriously, this cut is much better than the original. DJ MUTA’s blog

MINT – “YEAH”de gomakashiteiru (playing it off by saying “yeah”). Okay, that’s a terrible translation, sorry. Anyway, seriously kids, MINT just really goes hard. I was actually done mixing down this episode and chanced upon this cut on dude’s twitter, and absolutely had to fit it in. The hook is really simple, and lyrically actually sort of cheesy, but it’s still just bananas:

おれはずっとこのまま、きっと多分ここなんだ
Ore wa zutto kono mama/kitto tabun koko nanda
Definitely, probably I’ll always be here

YEAHでごまかしてる/自分の居場所探してる
YEAH de gomakashiteru Jibun no ibasho sagashiteru
Playing it off, saying “yeah” searching for my place

Have I mentioned that I’m a terrible translator? I’m a terrible translator. Just trust me, this is a good song.

So that’s what it is for this one – if you have any questions, want to hear on any specific artist, I’m thinking of doing posts on individual artists. Or, you know, if you have comments on the series in general, definitely let me know, either here or via twitter (@dexdigi).

Also, stay on the lookout for the aforementioned article breaking down the skit, and the “Hansei Shitemaaasu” line. It’s shaping up to be pretty interesting.

Nihongo Rap Breakdown – Ep 129 Debriefing

yo. So I’m a little late with this, buy information pills but I figured it’d be nice to throw up a little breakdown for the last episode. So, refractionist for those who don’t speak moontalk, find this is for you.

In the intro, I said absolutely nothing of importance. Same goes for the outro. Not that that is surprising at all.

On to the artists:

Super Smoky Soul – you’ve actually heard them here before.

S.L.A.C.K. – I actually met this dude, maybe slightly before people started really freaking out about him. His rap style is sorta weird – he slurs his Rs, his intonation is bizarre, and he doesn’t pretend to talk about anything of any great importance. This, believe it or not, is sort of important.

example (warning: awkward translation):
なんて適当にさ 話してる夕方が透き通ってさ   Like just whatever, we talk all night
なんて適当にさ 話してるやつが大好きでさ I like people that just talk like whatever
なんて適当にさ 適当って言葉が大好きでさ Like just whatever, I like the word “whatever”

Here’s a video off the same record, “My Space”:



S.L.A.C.K – Good More.

Don’t miss the bonus snippet at the end for Deep Kiss, probably one of the best midnight skateboard tracks in recent memory.
Norikiyo – a central member of SD Junksta, one of a handful of acts that has essentially been carrying the scene on their backs since the mid 2000s. Norikiyo is very, very recommended. Topically this is a lot of ‘streets is live’ stuff. This version is a remix done by Punpee, who is actually the above mentioned S.L.A.C.K’s brother. Punpee, while being on a totally different pole from, say, Bach Logic, is easily one of the most important producers right now.

M.T.Z – This is actually a friend of mine – I’d say a classmate, but I spend very little time on campus, so yeah. This is actually over an old Planet Asia beat, and one of only two tracks dude has ever recorded (he’s more known in the organization/freestyle circuit). Lyrically, as you can probably tell, this is way more complex and on some ‘sucker MCs’ kind of angle. He’s also a political science grad student at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, so maybe that makes sense.

Actually, lemme tell a story about this dude. One time we were on the 8th floor of our (newly constructed) school building, and I’d brought my skateboard to class. He comes up, laughing at me for riding my skateboard to class, and asks if he can try it (he’s never ridden one before) and I’m like yo, are you sure it’s okay? I mean, we’re indoors.

He gives me this dead serious look, the same look he gets on his face when he’s reading Marx, and says “Yes. This is our space. It belongs to the people”. And proceeds to skate on the brand new carpet.

AKLO – Player. My first encounter with this dude, he was trying to do a kickflip indoors at a bar I had played a show at, slipped off the board, and almost broke my shins. After his recent mixtape AKLO 2.0, I’d have to say that this dude is easily one of the most important forces in recent Nihongo Rap history. He’s only got one record out, but his mixtape game is seriously putting pressure on the rest of the scene, which to this point has been pretty lazy as far as release pace is concerned. Then we’ve got the producer, Ham-R, who also appeared on Seeda’s most recent record (raps and production). Aside from the coked out synths, I recommend paying attention to what he’s doing with his snares – even Bach Logic isn’t really touching this.

MINT – 変形合体 (“henkei gattai”). I’m not really sure how you translate this – the first part is like “transform” (as in “transformers” – get the reference to the original track now?) and the second is like “union”. So basically if you think about Robotron or maybe Power Rangers when they made that big robot or whatever (I hated that show, so I don’t really remember), that’s the idea.

Anyway, Mint is a pretty weird dude. I think a lot of Nihongo Rap fans might know him best from 韻踏合組合 (loosely, and lamely translated, “rhyme association”), but apparently he ditched that group in like 04. A lot of his rhymes are pretty juvenile, complete with crude sex references (think really hard about where you could go with the image of robots transforming/combining into one) and entire songs dedicated to his favorite anime shows, but really this guy is one of my favorite rappers, period right now. And, as I said in the original article, his version of the Chris Brown joint is far, far superior to the original, and I will gladly internet fight anyone who disagrees with me.

Be on the lookout for more Mint in an upcoming jawn. (thanks for reminding me, Timm)

Hannya – Blog #50. Instead of a blog, Hannya releases a new freestyle every week. Each of them are sort of upsettingly good. In this one, he’s (among other things) dissing the Japanese edition of Source Magazine, which I agree with, because while it was nice to have a hip-hop magazine in Japan, it was very irresponsibly written, and probably never should have been released. After 3 issues it died out, though, so whatever. I very highly recommend checking out Hannya’s most recent record, HANNYA – it was probably my favorite record of 2009.

Essencial – Bomb Rush Freestyle. Off of the Backyard Vol 1 mixtape. I think most people remember Smith CN (the first rapper) more than his counterpart, which I guess is unavoidable. Dude’s voice is just that bugged out. Smith CN himself has a new record out – I’ve only heard one cut, but it is very recommended.

a.z – untitled (off a beat CD I got from Mori). I have played at a few events with her, and still don’t quite get it. She’s the producer for a few acts around Tokyo, but the word is that she never listens to hip-hop, at all. She just makes the beats, gives them out, and gets back to work. Really weird, but recently she’s been putting out some nice material. This is probably a good name to keep an eye on.

and that’s it. Now, go back, listen to the Nihongo Rap episode again. And stay tuned for the next installment.

Hell, are people interested in this sort of thing? If you are, I’ll keep doing these and breaking them down – if not…I’ll probably do it anyway, but it’s nice to know what people are interested in.

Black TK – Knowledge as a Form of Combat

People who have been with this show for a minute will undoubtedly remember the only other person who’s ever hosted a show on here (okay technically Mamiko did one too – thanks greg) – the man behind The New Soul seriesBlack TK.

Obviously in Tokyo I don’t run into dude as much as I used to, patient but I ran into this the other day.

TK has more than a few videos up on his account, but this one I think a lot of people could benefit from checking. Specifically his words on knowledge. From near the end of the video:

One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself, as well as to get a formal education. Combine those things. And then question those things.

Because it’ll give you a balance in life that no one can take away from you. There are certain things that you learn in the streets of Northern America that no one can teach you. And if you combine that with academic studies, you are going to be a very sharp sword, and you’ll be able to serve justice. And cut the heads off of a lot of people that come in your way.

There’s really not a whole lot more to say here.

I encourage anyone reading this, especially young brothers and sisters from those communities that are continually put at a disadvantage – I’m looking at those of you in high school, just out of high school, and hell even in middle school:

in all senses of the word, get an education.