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Eight-man rap group BAD HOP dominate the Japanese hip-hop scene with their American-style trap beats, collaborations with big-name U.S. producers, and inspiring cuts examining their collective struggle growing up in the industrial city of Kawasaki. The outfit—comprised of childhood friends T-Pablow, YZERR, Tiji Jojo, Benjazzy, Yellow Pato, G-k.i.d, Vingo, and Bark—came together in 2014 as a way for the crew to avoid the pitfalls of crime and drug addiction common in their hometown. Unlike most other aspiring rappers in Japan who typically seek out a major-label deal, BAD HOP elected to go it alone, which gave them the creative freedom to experiment with thumping trap beats on “Kawasaki Drift” and breezier synth melodies on “Ocean View.” BAD HOP eventually began collaborating with hitmaking producers like Murda Beatz, Metro Boomin, Wheezy, Turbo, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Mustard, resulting in their hard-hitting 2019 EP Lift Off. In addition to their wide-ranging sonic palette, BAD HOP remain a stand-out group with their narratives about coming up in one of Japan’s rougher areas—detailing encounters with Yakuza and the daily challenges of growing up in single-parent households. Yet, with their success, the band ultimately offer hope to those facing similar struggles.

Kawasaki, Japan
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