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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  • http://www.reverbnation.com/miscbeats M.I.S.C

    you forgot that the video for “stronger” was inspired by the anime “Akira”.

    • Andrew fraser

      I Love that movie. I figured out on my own that he used that movie as inspiration and I jizzed myself

  • Don mcCaine

    Hip Hop has had an influence on Japan, so of course while our artists are on tour over there, they will embrace things from their culture and bring it back to our culture.

    If it was the way that this feature is titled, then our rappers would be sounding and doing the things their artists do, and we would know a lot of their artists and discographies, which we don’t.


  • Q461

    In Japan, they celebrate all of hip-hops aspects, not just music. They respect the traditions, and there is no such thing as an mc who isn’t “relevant”. They adore american hip-hop and rever it. We can learn somethin from the Japanese, real talk.

    • Don mcCaine

      ^ this

      seems like we’re picking holes in this drop. the jeans, bapes & art don’t seem like much influence now do they…

      • Q461

        Yup…I would have to say if the Japanese are embracing tagging, breakdancing, turntables and our “washed up” MC’s from the 80s and 90s and we in turn are embracing their denim, bapes etc then it just shows how superficial american rap fans are. I hope this article doesn’t reflect the feelings of the masses for hip hop’s sake.

        Good to see u back my dude. Miss choppin it up, but this site has been drippin with wack juice since Bol got canned. You know he woulda dropped some shit on Nate Dogg, B.o.B vs Odd Future, Wiz Khalfia etc. Damn shame.

  • http://www.melf.nl/ Melf

    You don’t know: Nujabes? DJ Krush? DJ Kentaro? Teriyaki Boys? Even though I don’t understand a word of it, the Japanese have some sick sounding MC’s and producers. Def worth checking out. Zeebra – The Untouchable (produced by DJ Premier) is classic.

    • 9Stories

      Dont forget Dan the Automater. Shout outs to Krush, meiso was a sick album.

  • Mike Down

    Ive been in the mix of hip-hop since 84′
    DJ HONDA is a pioneer of HIP HOP PERIOD.
    Not just “Japan”…He put on Common and Mos Def
    EARLY ON, as well as EVERY OTHER MC’ from KRS-ONE
    to…..well….kids…put your laptop to work…and check
    his Resume’…and he did it thru his own company…before
    most of the MC’s and Producers were even thinking of
    CEO’n…. Honda is as Real as it gets…

    • reeko

      ^^ definitely i was gon say the same thing.

  • Don mcCaine

    Q I see you…

    dude ain’t wrong ’bout honda either…but this is xxlmag, they’re supposed to have known to holler @ honda to give his take instead of this jumpoff saying enviso & bape have influenced Hip Hop, even when they know they’re catering to a younger demographic specifically, and choose not to speak on the history. Would’ve been EASY for him to throw a couple of blogs up so WE can have the discussion.

    AND you got the cats who made history checking you…say I’m lying…

    * sarcastically waits for the next 100 click blog *

  • Dub

    I had a few pair of fake Red Monkeys/Evisus in my middle school days

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