Japan’s Hip-Hop Revolution

The hip hop revolution in Japan can be traced to a pivotal event in 1996 known as Thumpin’ Camp. Over 30 artists performed at the invitation of rapper and event organizer ECD. As the festival kicked off, ECD declared: “I killed J-Rap,” meaning he was seeing off the old style Japanese rap music which had embraced pop melodies and sought mainstream chart success, with a harder “purer” version of hip hop. Asia-Pacific Journal said Thumpin’ Camp represented a “swell of the underground” and that ECD “showcased underground, club-based hip-hop, in opposition to pop-oriented J-Rappers like Scha Dara Parr or East End x Yuri, whom he didn’t invite.”

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