As someone who lives and breathes hip-hop, I’ve always been eager and happy to share music I’ve been listening to and introducing people to the genre I’ve loved for over a decade now. Japan has always been a country I’ve wanted to visit, and I’ve been fascinated by the anime, music and film culture in the beautiful country of the Far East. Therefore I have decided to list 10 of my favourite albums, some of which I believe have helped define and shape the music scene there. Hope you enjoy!
Submerse – Tears EP
This is where LA beat scene meets Japanese beat scene in terms of influence and crazy, dope production. Tokyo-based musician Submerse released Tears EP in 2012, and it was an album that completely blew me away the first time I listened to it. Tracks like “Cream Soda” and “Kerosene” are just crazy, and you can really hear the LA influence in the production techniques and the boldness of the music. A true masterpiece. Listen to and purchase the album here.
Bugseed – Quiet Times
Bugseed is one of my favourite Japanese-based producers. There’s something about the heaviness and grittiness of his drums and beats that make him such an incredibly dope producer to me, and nothing captures his essence more to me than his 2015 album Quiet Times. The tracks on this tape are catchy and head-bob heavy, and it’s just a joy to listen to. Listen to and purchase the album here.
ILL-Sugi – OSAKI BEATS
Talented producer ILL-Sugi came through in 2013 with an incredible album titled OSAKI BEATS. He has been prolific with his releases, just check his Bandcamp, so it was difficult to find an album that defined his sound. This is a personal favourite of mine. The beats are smooth, sampled brilliantly, and the flow from track to track is flawless. Listen to and purchase the album here.
Tajima Hal – Sometime Ago
A big name in the beat scene at the moment, Tajima Hal has released some stellar music, but it was Sometime Ago, an album he released back in 2014, that was my first introduction to his music. Smooth, sample-heavy and an album which flows effortlessly from track to track, this album is definitely worth your time. Listen to and purchase the album here.
Fitz Ambro$e – Quintesensual
Fitz Ambro$e has made such a name for himself within the global hip-hop community with some fantastic collaborations and solo releases. His 2016 project Quintesensual stands out to me as one of his best for its smooth, R&B inspired production. It’s a truly fantastic album. Listen and purchase the album here.
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