Japanese rap can be political, it can be personal and honest, and it can even be funny. What it often isn’t is caustic. The young rapper named Kohh, who seems to pattern his stylings after dark American acts like the Onyx, pretty much shot his wad as soon as he took the White Stage shortly after lunch.
Sporting a ragged shriek-sing that would not have been out of place in a Norwegian death metal band, he writhed, skipped, and threw himself around the stage while his DJ cranked out industrial strength noise. The audience, much of which seemed to know his material, found the rhythm way before we did and dipped and waved accordingly.
Though the air of menace was mostly an act, it was an act that couldn’t quite survive Kohh’s between song patter, during which he chatted amiably with the audience and commented about the weather, which was cool, breezy, cloudy, and very dry.
Proving that he understands what constitutes hip-hop in the post-millennium, he used some Auto-Tune, brought out a two-man crew to chant the phrase, “dirt boys,” and spell him for a bit with different types of flow, and did a song about drugs, which, in Japan, is bolder than doing a song that includes copious references to “bitches.” The guy has a future, even if he doesn’t have any more real estate available for tattoos. (text: Philip Brasor; photos: Mark Thompson)