Anime Love & Hip-Hop: Part 2!

Welcome back guys n’ girls to our two-part filler post about the relationship between anime and hip-hop! If you’re an anime fan, then you’re fully aware of where the medium stands in terms of popularity. What was once a close-knit medium has now become a world-wide phenomenon. From Spain to the UK anime is pretty much everywhere; just like hip-hop. The crazy thing is that its not just rappers that have mad love for anime, but a few famous celebrities and professional athletes have revealed their nerdy side as well.

Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan (aka Killmonger) revealed his love for not just Dragon Ball Z, but Naruto as well, during an interview for his new role in Rooster Teeth’s newest anime-style sci-fi adventure, gen:LOC. Kim K. tweeted her new hairstyle was inspired by Darling in the FRANXX’s Zero Two. Green Bay Packer’s Mike Daniels is not just a threat on the football field, but he too is a lover of anime.

There are so many similarities between the two mediums/platforms, which may be the reason why they’re so intertwined with one another. Both cultures tell a story about themselves that often include fantastical elements and experiences. Because of this connection between them, anime and hip-hop have spawned a number of awesome shows (and manga) which has opened the door to new ways for artists from both Japan and Western culture, to collaborate and come up with something awesome.

In Part 1 we talked about the various artists that helped to merge the two subcultures together, but when it comes to giving credit where credit is due, the rappers that come to mind would have to be RZA, Outcast, and MF DOOM. (Big Boi and Hatsune Miku did a track together, if you don’t believe us check this out!)

Quiet as it’s kept, hip-hop met anime first long before mainstream America discovered it. Both of their cultures and styles seem to have a brother-sister relationship; where one end of the medium can identify with the other. Thanks to the genre as a whole, hip-hop will always find new ways to reinvent itself; such as ‘nerdcore’ which is a subgenre of hip-hop for nerds that talk about anime and video games. Even Samuel L. Jackson is no stranger to the medium, as he’s been in a few anime titles that you might know about.

It’s hard to believe that some of us are just now realizing the connection between anime and hip-hop, but truth be told, this dance has been going on for years. Whenever you watch an anime title or listen to a song that has either a rap verse in it or elements of the genre itself, just remember who found anime first. And on that note, that will conclude our two-part filler post on the relationship between anime and hip-hop. With anime being at the level that it is now, there’s no telling what new creations and collaborations will come about from this match made in heaven.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see! 😉

Anime Love & Hip-Hop: Part 1!

Sometime in the 80’s in a little place called the South Bronx a new and raw sound was starting to emerge. It was more than just the language of ‘the streets’, it was the language of African-American culture. These days whenever people think of Hip-Hop a few names come to mind; Kanye West, Drake, Travis Scott, you name it. Being from the 90’s ourselves we grew up with people like Sir-Mix-a-Lot, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube.

Hip-Hop was more than just about the music, it was the lifestyle and culture that came with it. Anime on the other hand was something different; it was a vast new world of animation filled with vivid colors and complex plots that was different than what you would find in western animation. If these two subcultures are vastly different from one another, how in the world did they come together in the first place? Well guys and girls, we’re about to tell you the the love story between anime and hip-hop…

lotusjuice
Japanese Rapper Lotus Juice

Hip-Hop made its first appearance in Japan back in the 80’s thanks to Japanese DJ Hiroshi Fujiwara, after being in the U.S. during that time before bringing back some records with him. From there it spread like wildfire; as hip-hop was now being infused with various other styles such as jazz, EDM, pop, and so many others. This relationship may seem farfetched to some, but with anime being the audio-visual medium that it is, creators and music producers are always looking and trying new ways to reach out to western audiences. It’s almost like mixing different ice cream flavors together, until you come up with a concoction that takes your taste buds on a journey.

A lot of great titles infuse hip-hop into their soundtracks and stories. One title that demonstrates this would be Samurai Champloo. When you listen to the opening title song, you’re introduced to a track that’s a mixed blend of urban rap with the culture of Feudal Japan. Another title that comes to mind when you’re talking about anime and hip-hop’s relationship would be Afro Samurai. Yep, the one with Samuel L. Jackson and Lucy Lu (from Charlie’s Angels) in it.

afro-afro-samurai-7608256-1920-1200.0
“Nothing personal, it’s just revenge…”

Various artists like RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), Lotus Juice, the late Nujabes and a few others have contributed to a lot of the tracks from many of our favorite anime titles. (Even the “Never Say Never” opening to Danganronpa: The Animation.) Hip-Hop in anime is more than just the unique blends and styles infused with audio and visual esthetics, its also about the style, the grooming, and the ‘gear’ that is associated with hip-hop. In the 80’s it was about the ‘LL Cool J’ type of look, but as the 90’s and 2000’s rolled around we’ve got gold chains, grills, watches, skinny jeans, Jordans (or Air-Force Ones from back in the day), the whole nine yards! The Tokyo Tribe series created by Santa Inoue is an example of this, as it brings in various elements of hip-hop culture, and even has a live-action hip-hop musical as well.

With all of the new shows that are coming out this year, there’s no doubt that there will be more hip-hop and anime collaborations, and new ways where artists and creators can express themselves while also paying homage to hip-hop culture.

PART 2 is coming up tomorrow! Stay tuned! 😉