Article: Top 10 Japanese Hip-Hop Artists Changing The Music Scene

Over the past decade, Japan's Hip-Hop scene has started to thrive worldwide. In the world of Hip-Hop, these Japanese artists bring a unique flavor by mixing Eastern and Western elements to create a unique genre. This article explores the country's top 10 Hip-Hop artists, who are changing the music scene in the nation through their incredible way of creating and delivering music.

1. Kohh

It would be criminally offending not to mention the name of KOHH while talking about legendary Japanese Hip-Hop artists. KOHH is one of the best (if not the best) rap stars in Japan's music industry. KOHH broke the internet with the viral Korean-Japanese track "It G Ma) in 2015. Since then, his fame has only grown. KOHH's been climbing up the charts globally, and given his hard work, he only deserves all this fame. Some of his popular songs are "Hikouki," "John and Yoko," "I Think I'm Falling," etc.

2. Killa

kiLLa is a Japanese Hip-Hop crew. The members of this crew are YDIZZY, Arjuna, Blaise, KEPHA, No Flower, acuteparanoia, YESBØWY, and Yuki Nakajo. This Hip-Hop crew does a great job of representing its nation in the worldwide Hip-Hop scene. kiLLa released its first group EP, "kiLLa EP vol.1," in December 2016, followed by two other EPs, "kiLLa EP vol.2 Summer Edition" and "kiLLa EP vo.3 F.O.E (Family Over Everything)". Each member of the group has their solo releases as well. kiLLa puts a strong influence on global youth culture through their music and captivates the minds of the young generation worldwide.

3. Sky-hi

Mitsuhiro Hidaka, mostly known as SKY-HI, is a Japanese rapper, songwriter, actor, and producer. He is a member of the co-ed idol group AAA under the label Avex Trax. SKY-HI debuted as a solo artist on August 7, 2013, with the double A-side single "Ai Bloom/RULE". He has been in the Japanese music scene for more than 20 years. SKY-HI has collaborated with the K-pop group Stray Kids' rapper team, 3RACHA, on a song called "JUST BREATHE". Some of his other songs are "Sarracenia," "New Chapter," "Holy Moly Holy Night," "The Sun from the EAST," etc.

4. Kandytown

KANDYTOWN is another incredible Japanese Hip-Hop crew. The members of the crew are BSC, DIAN, DONY JOINT, Gottz, Holly Q, Benjazzy, IO, KIKUMARU, DJ MASATO, MIKI, DJ Minnesotah, MUD, Neetz, Ryohu, DJ Weelow, KEIJU, and YUSHI. This group is overflowing with talents that the members show through their excellent rap flow and production. They debuted with the single "Few Colors" on September 29, 2017. Some of their popular songs are "Curtain Call," "Prove," "Local Area," etc. The KANDYTOWN members decided to go their separate ways after releasing their album "LAST ALBUM" on November 30, 2022, as a goodbye gift to their fans.

5. Lex

LEX has been in the Japanese music industry since 2018. He started to make music at the young age of 14 and used to upload those songs on SoundCloud. He released his first album, "LEX DAY GAMES 4," just after two years, and took the nation's industry by storm. The contrast between LEX's calm and natural voice and the intensity of his songs, along with his emotionally intriguing lyrics, has won many fans, especially among the young generation. Some of his famous songs are "NiPPON,' "Psychedelic," "FLAME," "STRANGER," etc.

6. Chanmina

Mina Otomonai, aka CHANMINA, is a South Korean-Japanese rapper. She is a phenomenal artist in the Japanese music industry, which has only a few successful female rappers. She debuted independently in 2016 and released her major label debut album "Miseinen" in 2017. CHANMINA produces all of her tracks and choreographs her choreographies, which shows how artistically talented she is. In September 2021, her song "I'm a Pop" was featured in the Netflix film "Kate," which helped her break through the US music charts for the first time in her career.

7. Daoko

Musicians are born with magical brains. DAOKO is one of those magical musicians who is a must-listen Japanese artist for rap fans. She first grabbed the attention of the Japanese audience with the release of her record "Ututu" in 2013, at the young age of 17. DAOKO has gained fame for her incredible way of blending Hip-Hop and mainstream electronica in her uniquely quirky style, blurring the genre boundaries. She peaked her fame nationwide with a collaboration ballad song called "Uchiage Hanabi" with Kenshi Yonezu in 2017. DAOKO now has 1.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

8. Mcpero

MCpero is a rebellious rapper, bringing change to the nation's Hip-Hop industry, which does not have many popular female rappers. Her lively style is a refreshing change among the grittier female Japanese artists competing for radio time. MCpero raps about her everyday experiences with love and sex and acknowledges the underrepresentation of women in Hip-Hop through her creations. "SKIP," "Garden," "MY WORLD," and "LIVE!" are some of her popular tracks.

9. Novel Core

Satake Taro, aka Novel Core, is a Japanese rapper and songwriter. Hailing from Japan's capital, Tokyo, Novel Core debuted with the single "SOBER ROCK" in October 2020. Since then, he has created amazing songs such as "MF," "Be You," "No Way Back," etc. Novel Core is signed under SKY-HI's management company, BMSG. He even has some songs where he collaborated with SKY-HI. This talented Japanese rapper is one of the rising stars in the industry.

10. Nujabes

Jun Seba, popularly known as Nujabes, was a DJ, composer, record producer, arranger, and an icon. He is called the "godfather of Lofi hip-hop," and is credited with helping the Lofi genre grow with his contributions to the soundtrack for the popular anime "Samurai Champloo". Nujabes frequently incorporated jazz and relaxed house elements into his Hip-Hop compositions, resulting in distinctive releases that are easily recognizable without sounding repetitive. In 2010, the composer died unfortunately in a traffic collision at the age of 36. He has left plenty of his masterpieces behind for the worldwide Hip-Hop enjoyers to listen to.