The mid point of…pretty much any year means I’m desperately trying to catch up on all the music I’ve fallen behind on hearing from the past six months. 2017 has been particularly backlogged, and I’ve been trying to just go hogwild through my list of “probably check this out” albums. So far, the highlight has been a collection that only dropped a few weeks back, but which I had no idea was coming —- rapper TamakiRoy’s Nagi, his first full-length in four years. The clue-in should have been that Nagi features his collaboration with OBKR and Taquwami, one of the weirdest numbers to ever soundtrack a clothes ad. Yet this was not an outlier — all of Nagi exists in an off-kilter zone, featuring air-tight beats and a lot of pitched vocals, making for an otherworldly listen and one of the most interesting rap releases to come from a Japanese performer in quite some time (look what happens when you don’t just imitate Atlanta trends in a way that makes you wanna just listen to Future!).
Highlights abound, but recently released number “Harari” feels like a good gateway in. It’s a spacious number, one featuring a chorus built on the titular repeated over and over again, until it turns into vapor, and which finds TamakiRoy just vibing along, his words sounding like sudden thoughts rather than punchlines. Strings enter, electronics squiggle off in the distance and rapping wraps around it all — it isn’t that it’s somehow brainier than other Japanese rap (though, it is) but it’s just far more interesting, exploring sonic ground rarely touched on by MCs. Listen above.