Based in Tokyo & NYC, Digi Crates Records occupies a unique and unprecedented position of influence within the underground hip hop cultures of both Japan and America. With their eclectic signings and inspired compilations the label has developed a distinctive artistic identity and a reputation for consistently discovering the most innovative and soulful jazz-hop from around the world.
Featuring Eastern producers such as 14? and Taku alongside three Western artists signed to Digi Crates - P.SUS, Abstrakt Idea and DJ Ezasscul, this week's show will illustrate the differing ways in which hip hop musicians assimilate and engage with the music that inspires them depending upon the culture to which they belong. Although each of the above artists share a primary influence in Nujabes, it is perhaps significant that the Western musicians stray further from the style established by the late Japanese producer (a style which is itself heavily inspired by the Western artforms of jazz and rap), than the Eastern artists for whom Nujabes is an explicit influence.
While the extent of Nujabes' influence on modern hip hop cannot be denied, this show also demonstrates the many other forms of hip hop being produced in Japan, from the frantic samples of Jemapur and Fat Jon's 'Ole,' one of his many understated & atmospheric compositions reminiscent of the 90's East Coast pioneers, to the four instances of collaboration between Japanese producers and American vocalists.
I chose the word 'strictly' to describe my choices this week not to draw attention to any limits imposed upon the genre or to pretend to be making my selections according to any set of rigorous or definitive principles, but for the exact opposite reasons - to show the range of radically diverse, often conflicting, styles of music that can be grouped together and labelled, perfectly logically, 'Japanese hip hop.' This is a musical movement which is continually evolving and expanding and appears to have no boundaries in sight. A movement which does not depend upon the heritage of its artists but on their ability to evoke certain emotions by fusing East with West. A movement which is changing the face of modern hip hop.21:10 - 22:08