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About Ketsumeishi

Although Ketsumeishi have named all their albums using some variation of Ketsunopolis—their sophomore effort is titled Ketsunopolis 2, album three is Ketsunopolis 3, and so on—the Japanese quartet aren’t fond of repeating themselves sonically. While known as one of the country’s best hip-hop groups, they’re also skillful pop craftsmen and even occasionally have dabbled in Latin rhythms (“Bossanobar”) and modern bluesy country (“Kakugohaiika”). Ketsumeishi formed in 1996 after rappers Ryo and Okura, who both had studied pharmacy, teamed up with vocalist Ryoji and DJ Kohno. Their debut single, 1999’s “Kocchi Oide,” received a boost after being used in a TV commercial, and it was followed by their 2000 debut, Ketsunopolis. More success followed: 2002’s Ketsunopolis 2 topped the Japanese album charts; the midtempo pop jam “Sakura” became their breakthrough hit three years later, finishing at No. 2 on the year’s singles chart and earning placement in a prominent Japanese game, Taiko no Tatsujin. That versatility continues to pay off, as in 2020 the band released the single “Superstar,” which doubles as the theme song to the anime TV show Crayon Shin-chan, while “Yokuwarae” is used in the Japanese movie Food Luck.

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