The Torchbearers for the future of Japanese Hip Hop

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Japanese Hip Hop emerged in the late 1980s, influenced by the cultural fusion of American Hip Hop and Japanese youth culture. Pioneers like Hiroshi Fujiwara played a crucial role in introducing the genre to Japan during its early years.

By the time the 2000s came, Japanese Hip Hop gained global recognition, thanks to the internet, collaborations with MCs all around the globe, and youth culture picking up on DJing, breaking, streetwear, and more. The late, great Nujabes in particular, brought Japanese Hip Hop to a whole new level. As a beatmaker, he went on to become a symbol of the Japanese scene, inspiring heaps of MCs and producers with his atmospheric and jazzy beats. Furthermore, the genre’s roots intertwine with influential acts like Yellow Magic Orchestra, who, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, incorporated electronic and Hip Hop elements into their music. This fusion laid the groundwork for the later development of Japanese hip hop, providing a unique backdrop that artists like Nujabes drew upon, contributing to the genre’s distinctive sound and identity.

In the present, one might consider Japan as the Asian Mecca for all of Hip Hop culture. The streetwear brands are killing it, the dance scene is great, and both its underground and mainstream channels are healthier than ever. Rappers like Awich, JP The Wavy, ¥ellow Bucks, Yuki Chiba [formerly KOHH], CHANMINA, MIYACHI, JIn Dogg, and AK-69 have carried the legacy of their predecessors into today and are definitely killing it. But who are the ones to take the Torch on from them in the future? Here are the MCs LiFTED thinks are on the up and up.

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