Within the past decade, two different avenues of culture have risen exponentially in popularity: anime and rap. In 2018, USA Today wrote an article that deemed R&B/hip-hop had surpassed rock music as the most consumed music genre in the United States. Although we all know how influential hip-hop culture has been in media from shows to soundtracks to even video games, it was recognized as to be the mainstream sound by many platforms based on streaming consumption compared to all genres. Even in the rise Tik-Tok and Instagram reels, R&B and rap songs are a constant sound featured in many of the popular videos on social media.
The rise of social media increased the popularity of anime more than ten-fold. Although the Dragonball series and Shonen Jump's Big Three of One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach have been around for ages along with a history of anime and hip-hop crossovers in the nineties, they became even more popular thanks to meme culture and cosplay on social media. One recurring example would be Meg Thee Stallion creating looks influenced by various anime characters. One of her more popular looks is her feature on Paper Magazine dressed like Torodoki from My Hero Academia.
Courtesy: Paper Magazine
Now there is such a big spotlight on animes old and new from the likes of One-Punch Man, Attack on Titan, Sailor Moon, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and more. I'll even classify The Boondocks as an honorable mention because the creator of the Boondocks stated that their fight scenes were influenced by the same fight scenes of Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop. Read Elijah Watson's argument of how The Boondocks was the first black anime on OkayPlayer.
Even though there are countless anime songs from notable hip-hop artists like MF DOOM and the Wu-Tang Clan, I decided to write this article to spotlight indie artists that made good anime rap songs, whether it's just used in a hook or used as references in different ways like bars, samples, and song titles. Enjoy.
Apollo Fresh- Jojo Pose
When I was fleshing out certain picks for this article, this was easily the first song I chose. It's like what Geechi Gotti says, "EVERY. SINGLE. BAR." is a reference to the anime Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Apollo Fresh has the song's lyrics on Genius that give explanations to every little reference mentioned in the song. With a quirky, controlled fast-paced flow, it definitely pumps up your adrenaline listening to it. It covers many parts of the series but Jojo Pose mainly focuses on part five of the series and the main character Giorno Giovanna along with other characters and their stands from part three of the series. You can follow Apollo Fresh on Instagram and Twitter @apollo_fresh .
Cam Archer- Sailor Moon
This song is kind of a throwback since it came out in 2016 but it's another display of sharp lyricism from the San Bernandino emcee. The hook itself makes references to the outfits of the Sailor Moon characters and how the girls like girls. It's a smooth song to listen to as Cam raps over the production that samples Rump Shaker by Wreckx-N-Effect. There's an article that discusses the sexuality of the Sailor Moon cast that's worth reading. You can find Cam on all social media @CamArcher .
Noa James- Buu's Hungry
The Inland Empire rapper Noa James created a song comparing himself to the heavy-set Majin Buu as he turn his enemies into food. Like the Dragonball Z rapper, Noa James devours the competition in this popular song of his while telling stories of what fuels his passion to overpower the competition. You can follow Noa James on Instagram @noa_james and on Twitter @NoaJames .
The California-based rapper Anonymuz was featured in Elevator Magazine for his song Urameshi. It was featured on the 2018 album with the same name and the visual includes clips from YuYu Hakusho, from which the name Urameshi derives from as that's the last name of the protagonist Yusuke Urameshi. Anonymuz doesn't include many anime references in this, but his blunt honesty in his lyrics asks introspective questions like "I wonder if I had a million dollars, am I free?" can't be ignored. His 2018 album too includes songs with multiple anime references and that can be found on all streaming platforms. He has an album dropping soon, so stay up to date with him on all social media @anonymuzkilla .
DizzyEight ft. RUSTAGE, None Like Joshua, GameboyJones, NerdOut!, Samad Savage, Connor Quest!, Cam Archer, Chris Craig, Dreaded Yasuke, & Themacj- Anime Rap Cypher: Vol. 1
It would have been a travesty if I did not include this song by DizzyEight and many others to conclude this article. Every artist went bar for bar on this song with too many anime references to count. The visual shows the anime that each rapper includes in their verses and it's a very entertaining watch. Major respect to everyone who was involved in the cypher. You can find DizzyEight on all social media @dizzyeight to see the other installations of the anime rap cypher series.
Written by: Jay Guevara @justinhisprime on all social media.