Japan' domestic hip hop scene has taken off and early adopters Rappagariya deserve the
lion's share of the credit. Since forming in 1993, the trio of MCs, Yamadaman and Q with
DJ Toshi, have been among the hardest-working b-boys in the business, releasing a steady
stream of sides and albums, culminating in this summer's Rappagariya Densetsu
(Rappagariya tradition). Their name is a play on the phrase "rap shitagariya" or
"those who want to rap," an expression of these guys' desire to rap anywhere and
Cutting their first tracks in 1995 and releasing their first full-length, Super Hard,
in 1998, Rappagariya most recently teamed with fellow b-boys Dragon Ash on this summer's
"Deep Impact," which reached #2 in Japan's Billboard equivalent Oricon's charts.
They also cemented their reputation with a legendary three-hour show - a marathon by
Japanese standards - at a May 1999 date at Shibuya Club Quattro.
More recently, Rappagariya contributed a track to Synchronicity, a recent album
pairing American and Japanese rappers. On the track, "Straight Outta Nippon,"
Rappagariya lays down rhymes over beats produced by Sha Self. While their meaning may be
lost on those who don't speak Japanese, Rappagariya's infectious, dancehall-influenced
raps can be appreciated purely for their bounce and attitude. Tokyo mayor Shintaro
Ishihara may have wished for a Japan that can say "No"; Rappagariya gives us a
Japan that can say "Yo!"
Liquid Room on September 22. See listings for