Tokyo is a city of evolution, with each year, month, day, hour that passes the city changes irrevocably. A new hidden bar, a passing down of family-run izakaya to the next generation, a layer of grime stomped into the footpath of the city’s back streets.
The history and the future is built on top of itself, brick by brick, progressive influence and historical roots forever entwined.
To explore the evolution of the city, its come ups, and the legends that inspire change, poweredby.tokyo and Reebok Classics came together to collaborate with some of the nation’s most exciting talents to craft two music videos.
The first video was created with Anarchy, Japan’s most iconic MC and groundbreaking producer K.A.N.T.A, the other with kZm and Awich, pair of hip hop heroes blowing up the local scene.
ANARCHY x K.A.N.T.A
Rising up through the unconventional but groundbreaking Japanese rap game, Anarchy is an unlikely success story. From day one this fascinating figure has been musical and ideological embodiment of evolution.
Growing up in a low-income neighborhood of Kyoto, a city whose image is built on high art, history, and traditionalism; Anarchy’s Japan exists in a whole different dimension.
Danchi buildings his playground, his young life cultivated in the city’s industrial housing projects. Physically hard to miss, but culturally invisible, these monolithic monuments to the nation’s overlooked poverty stand as reminders of the seedy, gritty underworld of Japan’s street scene.
From great struggle comes great art and the work of Anarchy is no different. As a teenager he fell into the world of bosozoku gang life before discovering the spiritually rejuvenating and aspirational world of hip hop.
Clean cut superstar rappers tour stadiums boasting about their hustle, starting from the bottom and enjoying the success of their talent, but Anarchy has truly lived it.
kZm feat. Awich
Like Anarchy’s danchi projects, kZm feat. Awich live in a secretive society, young upstarts springing forth from the cold, concrete streets of urban Japan. In recent times, both artists have carved themselves a tidy niche with their ability to spit in rapid succession while also morphing with the down tempo beats when the time is right.
If Anarchy is one of the godfathers of progressive Japanese hip hop, kZm and Awhich are his godchildren, young, ambitious, and defying the status-quo.
In his rather young career, kZm has mastered the art of collaboration, rolling with Japanese rap clique kiLLa and teaming up with underground international names like Yung Lean.
kZm’s creative rationale is to evolve beyond the previously insinuated limitations of hip hop, taking it from the streets and using as a tool to explore concepts beyond the everyday.
Born in Okinawa, Awich’s unconventional history is the perfect example of evolutionary creativity. A daydreamer who’d spend her childhood writing, she discovered the poetry of rap after coming into contact with Tupac’s contemporary masterpiece “All Eyes on Me.”
Learning English at school, her most influential source of education was through American hip hop. After moving to the states she came back to Okinawa and now raps in Japanese, Okinawan and English, crafting sounds with, a message that transcends the limitations of one single tongue.
She’s powerfully feminine; she’s urban Japan in 2018 and beyond.
Directors - Artem Skiy & Michael Laburt
Creative Director - Chace Fedor
Producer - Asako Tomotani
Production - Julie Guillot
B Cam: Akira Rambo
Photographer: JK Pilgrim
Stylist: Tatsuya Shimada & Chace Fedor
Hair & Makeup: Yusuke Yoshihiro & Yoshi T