Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Japan Soul Festival 2000

112 - PBI Entertainment

One of the peak events on the black music calendar in Japan is the Japan Soul Festival. This year the event will see veteran hip hop posse Naughty by Nature top a bill also featuring contemporary US soul stars 112 and Case. The nationwide tour will bring them to the Kanto area for one date only at the gleaming new Pacifico auditorium on the Yokohama waterfront.

While some might place them in the "Where are they now?" category, in Japan' hip hop and reggae clubs, it seems as if it's still the early '90s, and Naughty by Nature's massive hits "O.P.P." and "Hip Hop Hooray" are still dominating the charts. With the subsequent rise of West Coast gangsta rap and the rebirth of East Coast rap leaving Naughty by Nature in the dust, the trio has been unable to match their earlier success. Nonetheless, last year's Nature's Fury proved the group still has a loyal following, and they still remain one of the best hip hop units around in terms of sheer party power.

Naughty by Nature

Of perhaps greater interest are more recent comers, vocal group 112 and swingbeat star Case.

With roots in gospel, soul and hip hop, 112 were the first successful urban vocal group to materialize from East Coast hip hop star Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records. The quartet formed after meeting each other at high school in Atlanta and began to play at schools and churches, eventually gaining the attention of Combs. With Combs producing, the wholesome group achieved a Top 10 R&B hit with their first single "Only You." Their first record, 112, went gold in 1996 and Room 112 followed in 1998.


New York native Case, meanwhile, made various cameo appearances with Jodeci before launching his solo career in 1996 with a self-titled debut album. Mixing romantic R&B with hip hop rhythms, the album included the single "Touch Me, Tease Me" written with soul diva Mary J. Blige, with whom he is said to be romantically involved. The song appeared in Eddie Murphy's hit film The Nutty Professor.

Matching the most successful hip hop group of the early '90s with late '90s talents, the Japan Soul Festival will provide a good overview of the last decade in American black music.

The Japan Soul Festival takes place at Pacifico Yokohama on 11/2. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana