One of my resolutions for 2015 is to keep an eye on Suiyoubi No Campanella, a rapper who I totally zoned over in 2014 despite her releasing a bunch of good songs. I didn’t listen to any of them before someone suggested her “Momotaro” for The Singles Jukebox in December…and I was floored. What Suiyoubi No Campanella does so well is create rap music operating in its own dimension without treating it like a joke or costume — whatever cultural context lost between American hip-hop and non-English-speaking fans gets filled with original twists (like, say, a song built out of a Japanese folk tale and zig-zagging all over the place sonically) that come from a place of real respect and fandom.
And so, her latest video for a song from her 4th album (released last year), touches on everything good about the project. This is a song about riding a tour bus, complete with mentions of highway rest stops and wearing your seatbelt. It is territory that could turn into a goofy joke rap song you’d expect on some teenager’s YouTube channel, but Suiyoubi build something serious out of it. The beat, for one, goes from minimal hop-scoth to full-throated release come the chorus. And it results in an emotionally striking song, one where the exasperation of the verse give way to an emotional reckoning come the hook…and it all flows out from guided bus tours. Listen above.