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New Izumi Makura: “Heroine”

Update: This is not a new song, just a new visual for a song that came out two years ago. Rushed to post this, and in the process failed to double check. Thanks to @nsilvias for pointing this out, I really just need to not blog when I have other things to do and can’t actually focus, ya know?

Have you heard this new Keyakizaka46 single? It’s 2019’s J-pop song to beat so far — speaking on purely like, top-level J-pop, the stuff that tops Oricon — and part of its appeal for me lies in the speak-rap sections popping up in the verses. Those remind me of “whisper rap,” a kinda-sub-genre of Japanese rap that had momentum a few years ago, but has now just become part of the bigger hip-hop ecosystem. And I’m struck how parts of the Keyakizaka46 number sounds like Izumi Makura, the Fukuoka master of whispers. And in a nice bit of timing, she just put out “Heroine,” a new number further highlighting her delivery. It isn’t much of a change-up — she’s had more pop-baiting moments before — but this is her working her strength, over a peppy but spacious beat courtesy of Nagaco. Her influence has spread, but nobody sounds quite like her. Listen above.