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Japan’s Influences on Hip-Hop

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake struck Japan, causing a devastating tsunami that swept over cities in the northern part of the country. The impact was such that the West Coast of the United States and South America were on high alert. Recorded at 9.0 on the Richter scale, it was the most powerful quake ever to hit the country. To date, the official death toll has risen over 9,500, and more than 16,000 people are listed as missing. The final toll is expected to reach nearly 20,000. In light of the recent tragedy, Rap’s all-stars are slowly stepping up to the plate to organize relief efforts. The Songs for Japan album, featuring artists such as Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green, is now available on iTunes and a physical release is scheduled to hit stores on April. Proceeds from Songs for Japan will be directed to the Japanese Red Cross Society to help support those in need of relief. Though Em, Minaj and Cee Lo are contributing, hip-hop’s been relatively quiet in supporting Japan. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake last year, Wyclef Jean immediately stepped up to the plate, seemingly every MC took to Twitter to encourage donations to various organizations and loads of rappers took part in charity concerts. No one in hip-hop has taken the lead on relief efforts for Japan, which is surprising considering the huge influence it’s had on hip-hop. As we continue to pray for the embattled country, XXL takes a look at the trends and MCs Japan’s influenced from fashion to art and everywhere in-between. —Nicole Lopresti

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