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by Don Crispy

Rebirth JAG III

DJ Krush

Nightlife with a conscience? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, but this annual event devoted to raising funds for the underprivileged is for real. Following last year's JAG, which brought in over ¥1,000,000 for refugees in Afghanistan, regular headliner DJ Krush will be back again to lead the benefit at Liquid Room.

Rebirth JAG is not simply a one-off event to raise funds for Afghan refugees. Rather, says producer Noriko Asano, the event, now in its third year, is a "futuristic artist collective of the 21st century." According to her vision, JAG will develop into a range of ongoing and linked collaborative events: working with African artists, for instance, in a "Jungle JAG" that is slated to feature well known artists such as Femi Kuti, or working with street kids and urban artists and musicians in a "Street JAG." Rebirth JAG itself, Asano says, is intended to help the children of countries suffering from disaster and civil war.

For the upcoming Liquid Room event, Asano again called on Japan's abstract hip-hop innovator DJ Krush to contribute his talents and help put together the bill. Krush had worked with Asano before, and when the veteran DJ heard about the project he decided to take part.

Krush will be appearing with fellow member of his production unit Ryu, DJ Hide, and will no doubt be spinning tracks off his latest album, The Message At The Depth, which featured guests as diverse as underground American hip-hop unit Anticon and veteran Jamaican rhythm duo Sly & Robbie.

As a father of two teenage girls, Krush has more than a passing interest in the state of the world's young. He worries that Japan has become overly materialistic and forgetful of the world's needy and has translated his views into action as part of the non-governmental organization JAG Project.

"Honestly, I don't think people who come to these events really give much thought to the matter," Krush says. "But even if they get a vague sense of what we're trying to do, it's a good thing."

Using his connections with the US hip-hop community, Krush has lined up New York-based underground rappers Mike Ladd and Sonic Sum as featured guests. Part of a loose collective dubbed The Infesticons, rapper/producer Ladd is known for lazy beats matched with witty, well-informed rhymes. Sonic Sum, meanwhile, are a fourNpiece unit who for the last several years have been perfecting a live set that includes bass and keyboards in addition to the usual turntables.

Rebirth JAG@Liquid Room, 1/17, 10pm, ¥4,000 (adv), ¥4,500 (door). Tel: 3200-6831. www.liquidroom.net

Photos courtesy of Es.U.Es Corporation