BAD HOP hails from the industrial landscape of Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Despite their tough upbringing, the eight-man rap crew (T-PABLOW, YZERR, Tiji Jojo, Benjazzy, Yellow Pato, G-k.i.d, Vingo, and Bark) have found success, and even played Budokan. The group uses music to address complex family environments and the poverty in their hometown, earning support from young fans as they’ve grown into one of the most popular hip-hop crews in Japan. For their new EP, Lift Off, BAD HOP traveled to LA and collaborated with award-winning hitmaking producers—including Murda Beatz, Metro Boomin, Wheezy, Turbo, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Mustard—to create a body of work that brings them to the next level. Their experience was captured in a short film, playing exclusively on Apple Music. “We learned that our recording process back home isn't that different from the way they do it over here,” YZERR tells Apple Music. “I strongly felt validated, like, ‘OK, I guess this is where everybody ultimately lands. We weren't wrong.’” Recording sessions became a place of learning and challenging themselves. The resulting EP represents a huge milestone. “Since the creation of Lift Off, we feel more motivated, like we can make music the way we want to make it,” YZERR adds. “We want to increase the quality of our music, and want Japanese hip-hop to be more widely known around the world.” BAD HOP takes Apple Music through Lift Off track by track.
JET (feat. G-k.i.d, Yellow Pato & Tiji Jojo) Yellow Pato: “This was the first song we touched when we got to LA. We got on a flight from Haneda Airport and felt so much excitement on the flight. We wanted to capture that feeling, and the vibe of what it was like stepping outside when we walked out of LAX.” G-k.i.d: “We wanted to use keywords like ‘Uber’ and ‘Melrose.’ We wanted to incorporate the things we experienced firsthand in LA.”
Double Up (feat. Tiji Jojo, Benjazzy, Vingo & T-PABLOW) Tiji Jojo: “We all discussed what we wanted this song to be about, and we landed on this concept. We were flown out to America, and we were there to get to the next stage of our lives. Our notoriety and our money, doubling up, more and more.” T-PABLOW: “This beat has a lot of movement and speed. Rather than try to come up with something trendy, we thought a more standard rap style would be fitting. This is what we were thinking about while recording.”
ICHIMANYEN (feat. YZERR, Vingo & Benjazzy) YZERR: “Mike WiLL Made-It brought us this beat, and we felt like it had a Japanese-ness to it, so we wanted the title to be a really simple Japanese word. The title, ‘ICHIMANYEN,’ refers to money. But at the same time, we didn't want to seem too uncool and Japanese, so we tried to balance it out.”
Poppin (feat. Benjazzy, YZERR & Bark) Bark: “The track's got quite an intense beat, so this one was a little difficult. I do think I was able to lay out the exact flow I intended, though.” YZERR: “We wanted to create an aggressive vibe, unlike ‘Level Up,’ so we asked Benjazzy for the hook, who is most comfortable with that kind of vibe. I imagined Mustard to be kind of a sillier person, but when I actually met him, he had this aura about him, like he takes music really seriously, which was cool.”
Dead Coaster (feat. T-PABLOW, Benjazzy & G-k.i.d) T-PABLOW: “Wheezy is a beatmaker that has so much momentum right now, and so we wanted another song with his beats. This was the beat I thought fit us best, and I immediately had this image, like, ‘Oh, I think it should go like this.’” Vingo: “The meaning of the title is something like ‘being close to death.’ It was originally the title of a movie. The idea here is like, ‘We've made it this far, there's no going back.’”
Foreign (feat. YZERR & Tiji Jojo) YZERR: “I love Wheezy and Turbo’s beats, so I really felt like I wanted to come up with something cool as the rapper. I went into the writing process thinking I wanted to create a song that had power. When I heard the beat, I thought, ‘This reminds me of Japan,’ and I had this image in my mind of a foggy bamboo forest. Then, the song just flowed out of me naturally. We were all born as Japanese, but we wear what's cool overseas, and we've always listened and admired foreign music. So I wanted to show my pride as a Japanese person, and show off the type of flow only I could write as a Japanese person.”