One of the failings of Japanese hip-hop in recent years, in my opinion, is a failure to develop a sound all their own. Most of the big hits — even the super fun ones! — are pretty much imitating American production. Which, hey flattery really is a compliment (and, hey, this isn’t just a Japan thing), but I always find it way more fun when people find something different, that helps them stand out.
So this collaboration, between producer Yoshino Yoshikawa and ONJUICY, jumps out for presenting something so different. Yoshikawa’s music has shown that it can blend in with hip-hop — and The Weeknd (or The Weeknd’s team) seems to like it — but still RPG shows that he can provide a great backdrop for a rapper. The title track is Yoshikawa’s playroom-pop made a bit more spacious for ONJUICY’s rhyming, the MC bouncing around like it’s an inflatable castle. “Green Hill” unfolds a touch slower, but still loads up on chimes and gives ONJUICY plenty of room to bob and weave through. It’s two familiar artists working in (slightly) new terrain, and shows what happens when you try something different. Get it here, or listen below.