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Produced by members of Rip Slyme, Halcali became the first Japanese hip-hop unit to score high on the country's charts, mainly because their style made a huge emphasis on the pop side of things -- the band sticks to catchy melodies, lighthearted moods, and fun lyrics sprinkled with English gibberish. The duo is made up of childhood friends Halca (Haruka) and Yucali (Yukari), whose names were combined for "Halcali." The two Tokyo girls knew each other since elementary school and attended the same dance school; when they entered high school, they also tried for a "female rappers" audition by Rip Slyme's Fumiya and Ryo-Z, who collaborate as Oshare Track Factory. Halca and Yucali won the audition and soon became Halcali, presenting their debut single, "Tandem," live during a Rip Slyme Budokan concert in 2002 before the audience of 10,000. The single came out in 2003 and peaked at 19, becoming the theme for the anime Mr. Stain and featuring on the Latin American MTV. The debut album, Halcali Bacon (2003), scored number five, which made it the first record by Japanese female hip-hoppers to crack the Top Ten.

That was Halcali's top achievement, but the band's career continued steadily regardless, with its sound fluctuating between J-pop and "bubblegum rap" all the while. The second full-length, Ongaku No Susume, came out in 2004, and in 2005 they released a remix album and the single "Tip Taps Tip," which became the theme of the smash hit anime series Eureka Seven in 2006. Three more of their 2006-2008 singles were used in anime series, including "Long Kiss Good Bye" (2008), which was selected for Naruto Shippuden, and in 2007, Halcali released Cyborg Oretachi, which featured guest appearances by Fantastic Plastic Machine, Polysics, and Oshare Track Factory, as well as the first songwriting contributions from Halcali members, who tried to shift to a more mature lyrical and musical style, bringing in elements of rock and electrocore. The record was presented in France the same year, and in 2008 Halcali returned to Europe and debuted live in the U.S. ~ Alexey Eremenko

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