More Akira / Rap stuff

okay, approved well there’s not all that much rap in here, but this is something worth checking out.

I did a post on Sabotage Party’s Holding the Crown video with the Akira visuals a while ago, and we all remember Kanye’s attempt. But now Mark from Eyetape, who you might remember from this site the last time I posted on them, has just dropped a very unofficial, very bootleg but actually pretty cool Akira “trailer”.

Akira: The Kaneda Short Film from Eye Tape on Vimeo.

So aside from the fact that this thing is extremely well done, especially considering the budget – there is some actual rappidy rap in here. Seeda, who you might remember from my quick breakdown of Dear Japan I did forever ago – appears (without his explicit permisson) with the first part of “Lost Heaven”. If you’ve never heard the track you might miss this, but the editing is actually pretty smart at the beginning – those sound effects from the CD changer weren’t added in postproduction – that’s part of the actual song.

This is sort of an interesting project – an absolutely unauthorized – both in terms of soundtrack and film (I’m assuming that “90% guerilla” means “90% of this stuff wasn’t cleared with city authorities”) trailer of a Japanese film made by a kid raised in the States. Using a soundtrack spotlighting a Japanese artist using a quote un quote “American” artform.

For those of us born in the mid 80s and later, on both sides of the river, these “boundaries” are really starting to take on new meanings. I’m not saying they’re going away, but stuff’s starting to get interesting. I mean, look at the Golden Cartridge series (vol 1, vol 2) or the original Nintendo mixtape, man. We’ve got a generation of American kids influenced by Japanese machines, and a generation of Japanese kids influenced by recordings of American kids yelling into a box. Of course, there’s the negative side, which we’ve discussed here before in part, but still.

But forget that, watch the video. The set work in this video is also pretty dope – the bar actually looks like the original place from the film. I think I’m going to have to go rent this movie again.

In the meantime, holler at Eyetape.

So I think I like Sabotage Party

So look kids, here dex is busy writing a paper right now and can’t make rappidy rap podcasts for a second. Soon, soon.

But more importantly than that, I found something I kinda like that I want to share.

So maybe like a couple weeks ago this dude posts two vimeo links on my facebook. This is generally a no-no, particularly if the music is not good, but in this case I make a very large exception because both of these jawns are pretty dope.

Sabotage Party – HOLDIN THE CROWN – AKIRA montage from Jet Setter

Probably the first thing non-UK people will notice here is that the two gentlemen on this song are speaking a variety of English that is absolutely incomprehensible. I think I understood maybe 20% of what they’re talking about, but it doesn’t matter because a) it sounds good and b) the instro is bananas.

Bonus points for splitting “compliment” into four syllables.

Sabotage Party – Real Girls (T1 montage) from Jet Setter on Vimeo.

And then Real Girls. This is sort of a confusing song because it’s clearly about women, but it’s not actually, you know, degrading or insulting. I had to listen to it a few times to make sure I knew what was going on.

Jokes aside, I might even like this one better than the other track. Contentwise it’s quite good, and I don’t think I ever watched Terminator I, but the edit work on this to make it into a completely different cohesive semi-storyline on this is pretty brilliant (also dig the Tekken screen, and for that matter the subject synchronization (audio “smack to the jaw” + visual wrench to the jaw) in Holdin The Crown).

Anyway, this is bar raising material, ladies and gentlemen, particularly on the visual front.

I know next to nothing about these dudes, but I think this is their myspace:

podcasts soon.


Tanya Morgan / Hardcore Gentlemen

So yeah, hospital for those of you who caught the Skate Tape, this is the video from Tanya Morgan’s Hardcore Gentlemen.

Apparently as if making up a pretend city wasn’t enough, these dudes made up a pretend rap group that supposedly existed 15 years ago, and a pretend video for that pretend group, and a pretend video show that showed that pretend video, and then they pretend got pretend permission from the pretend video and made a pre…you know what, just watch the video.

Tanya Morgan – Hardcore Gentlemen.

I mean, I could sorta do without the intro, but it’s still funny. I still haven’t heard the whole record, but I don’t know, maybe I should go get it. What I have heard thus far is kinda good.

As a side note, the Tanya Morgan name shouldn’t be new to you at all if you’ve been following the show for a while. Check the archives.

Realest like Bruce Willis.

Nihongo Rap Breakdown – Seeda – Dear Japan

A lot of people have been asking me what the deal is with Japanese hip-hop1 is, web I’ve been sort of meaning to do this for a while, so let’s get into it – a proper (sort of) review/breakdown on a Japanese rap joint (ps – “Nihongo” = Japanese for “Japanese language”).

So let me make something clear upfront.

First off, after being here for over a year, I think I can say with confidence that a large portion of Japanese hip-hop is not very good2. I would actually go as far to say that a good portion of it is actually completely unlistenable, and that any non-native speaker of Japanese who claims to prefer Japanese rap over, say, its American counterpart is either very very familiar with the underground scene here, or lacks musical taste.2.5

This coming from someone who only has Japanese rap in his mp3 player.

Second, I should also say here if someone asked me who my favorite Japanese rapper was, at this point in time I’d have to say Seeda. It is also an undisputable fact my opinion that his last album is a landmark record in Japanese rap history, is the best Japanese rap record out right now, and is going to be a major force in what happens over the next couple years in the scene. So if you want to call me biased, sure, I’m biased. But then again, I’m not really known for talking much on this site about things I don’t like.

Second point five, people who have been following the show might recognize the Seeda from the mildly infamous Niggas and Bitches episode (Seeda isn’t the rapper whose lyrics I took up, though – that was Oki). Yes, this is the dude who shared a mic with that rapper in the video. Possibly something to keep in mind as you read this.

Third, I’m going to try to avoid making really broad generalizations about Japanese society/politics – partially because such generalizations aren’t possible, and partially because if you wanna know more about society/politics, there are better places to learn about that than from me. As good as I am at hiding it, I actually don’t know anything about anything, and encourage you to do your own research.

So, on to the track itself. This one is called Dear Japan, by Seeda, produced by Bach Logic. I actually heard this maybe four or so months ago when Seeda put it up for a couple days on his myspace, and actually liked it enough to want to drop it on the show. Didn’t happen, obviously.

Okay, let’s get to the video already:

Seeda – Dear Japan (prod. Bach Logic)

The first thing that you will notice is that dude stares at the camera for like fifteen full seconds before he even says a word. If I may be permitted to say something here about dude (Seedaさん、気を悪くしないで下さいね), dude kinda has a crazy look in his eye. And he continues to make really skurry faces at the camera for the whole video. So if that makes you uncomfortable, yeah.

Lyrical breakdown, background, and wild, baseless speculations after the jump.
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