From Japan with Love : A true friend of Grime
Ever since I was a little kid, I was infatuated with everything Grime, as everybody should know by now. Music, clothing, radio, you name it. Now, cross over a thousand miles far east to Japan and the same could probably said about the Japanese version of myself ( because there is a japanese version of me ) sitting in inner city Tokyo, turning up his FM dial to tune in to some distorted sounds from a radio station in someones mums kitchen with a host of DJs and MCs looking to bless mic.
Now this is all metaphorically speaking ofcourse but in recent times, I have come to notice that this thing here, we call grime is actually like wildfire, it catches on quickly. This thing here we call grime, is actually huge and loved by people outside of the UK and some parts of Europe. And no, I'm not about to mention America, because I know how much UK music fans love exclaiming USA respects Grime but that's a whole different story all together. Back to Japan. Here we are, in the technology capital of the world, the mecca of the gaming world and the home of Anime, what would they possibly enjoy about grime?
Well, it seems everything. For Japan seems like it isn't just one of those who've found a love for Grime in the past 2 years ( Cc : middle class Britain, mainstream America ), Japan or in particular Osaka, isn't one of those places like America whose majority have " found " grime through either a Kanye West performance or Drake's obsession with everything Skepta. But Japan is one of those places that genuinely is in love with the mucky sounds that originated from East London. the eski kicks, the abrupt reloads, the skippy flows and most importantly the growth of the scene.
Love at first sight
If you are not familiar with Japan and its love for Grime, I'm going to take you through it. Rewind 4 years ago, The GrimeReport release a video proclaiming to showcase " The first japanese grime video filmed in the UK " with the late Taquilacci, an artist from Osaka, Japan. I remember that video, I was at university, pillaging through Youtube in search of some grime ofcourse, as you do and there I was, staring a video with a Japanese grime MC on one of the best platforms, The GrimeReport right in the face. Whats the worst that could happen?
Apparently good flow and what sounded like skengman lyrics in Japanese. Just what I like to hear.
I was left intrigued and shocked that firstly, a dude from Japan actually cared enough to write lyrics to a 140bpm instrumental and secondly, that Japan actually knew what Grime was? Mind you, I didn't know what the hell they were saying but it was Unreal. Known as " The Scientist ", Taquilacci sadly passed away in 2015 but is seen as the pioneer in Japanese Grime helping to bridge the gap by working with grime legends like Dj Big Mikee.
Fast forward to 2013 and here we are again, a video featuring a Japanese grime artist. This time its Pakin and he's going back to back with the Wunsen Farda, Devilman in a sort of Chinese vs Japanese B2B Clash and that was the last I was to hear from him for two years.
Now, we're in the 2014. The buzz of Grime is in full effect. Cue, Elijah and Skilliam, who do as they do and champion Grime culture worldwide, and host their acclaimed " Elijah & Skilliam Show " in JAPAN. It was all kicking off, I'm telling you!
And it was a delightful treat for any grime fan. It was a damn grime set in Japan, Hosted by big names like Elijah & Skilliam. Also, can " You Dun know " in a Japanese accent ever get old? No, thought not.
That's when I realised Grime is truly a universal sound. The sound of out of council estates in inner city London has somehow hit home with a section of young Japan.
Which is when I found myself bigging it up for Japanese Grime. I was somehow at one with Japanese grime, I didn't know what the hell they were saying mind you but the flow was there. Everything " feels " good about it. It even had me bussin' gun fingers.
Fast forward to 2015 and Pakin, who went back-to-back with Devilman two years earlier, returned to the UK with honourable medal to take back with him including an episode on fans favourite, 5 pound munch, an interview and a freestyle on TheGrimeReport.
And now, here we are, late 2015 and a series of tweets from Jun Yokoyama or " @yokoching " on Twitter, a photographer from Japan who seems to really really love documenting Grime and who is from the Japanese grime scene and definitely knows how to capture a moment.
He recently hosted his first photo exhibition and it was about, yup you guessed it, Grime. Like, you'll be hard pressed to find a grime photo exhibition in London let alone come to London, find time to document the current scene, and then go back to Japan and display for all to see? Now that's a person who wants to elevate the culture, full props to him and all involved in Japenese grime culture. Things like this help It bridge gaps and helps build careers. And for UK grime artists, there is a audience in Japan that might enjoy your music, broaden your horizons, like Taquilacci, like Pakin and like Elijah & Skilliam.
Japan here I come, Sayonara.