The 2017 Japanese rap scene takes a lot of cues from the United States. A lot of MCs sound like Migos, or Future, or anyone else you can name from the past five years of hip-hop.
The viral success of JP The Wavy and his “Cho Wavy De Gomenne” hints that the hyped-up style preferred by American “SoundCloud rappers” has arrived. Naturally, Japan has to have its own Matt Ox. Say hello to MC LIME.
The only real biographical detail needed to understand the pre-pubescent flamethrower is that he’s an primary school rapper. He proudly declares this fact on his Twitter page (never too young to start hustling). Like most Japanese kids, he likes anime, phone games and Pokemon. He just also happens to do his best KOHH impersonation outside of class. This has come to the attention of many online following the release of his song “I Don’t Wanna Go To School.”
Over a sparse beat, the pre-teen performer lays out all of the reasons he’d prefer not to take part in the education system, at least for a day. “My teacher is scary / I want to stay indoors,” he raps (and translates into English in the above clip), before laying out a few other reasons, most sympathetically that the classrooms are dirty...that would be lame! Still, not sure if that warrants the line “I want to destroy the school,” but then again who knows what the heck I wrote in my journal after a bad PE class when I was 12. It’s a fun song, and MC LIME clearly follows rap, because he gets the flow and cadence of a lot of modern Japanese rappers down pretty well. Which makes sense - he shouts out the TV show Rap Dungeon, a sort of freestyle game show that is the closest thing to hip-hop being mainstream (like, mainstream mainstream) going.
The song isn’t quite viral, and is still relatively in the early cycles of internet attention. Still, it has resonated with many; primarily those who would also rather skip class, if possible. The clip’s spread can be traced back to the Twitter account of Tokyo Fashion, who got it from his mother’s account (who, aside, is a Bitcoin blogger). The most traction comes via Instagram however, where the clip has amassed over 100,000 plays. Now that’s bubbling up.
Whether this turns into a bigger thing remains to be seen, but I’m left charmed by MC LIME’s joy in doing this song, and how he weaves in references to Japanese cartoons and his fascination with airsoft guns. But even better is the first video in his “CHECK THE LIME” series of YouTube videos (again, never too young to start grinding that clout). He goes to a rap battle and takes on an adult, which is gutsy, and shows his devotion to this. I’m not saying he’s going to revolutionise Japanese music, but he’s quite enjoyable at this moment. So, MAGiC BOYZ collab?
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