Artist: Lamp Eye
Title: "Shougen" (CD)
Catalog #: PSCR-5547
Longtime underground Hip Hop group "Lamp Eye" and the Kaminari
crew have been pretty much leading the underground Japanese Hip
Hop scene for the last three years, and their "representative"
track, "Shougen" had remained unpublished and sorely sought
until it was first released on limited vinyl in mid-96. Here
we are in Winter 96 and the vinyl version has seen three pressings,
and has now become a CD with national distribution. All that said,
Polystar's involvement in this release appears to be that of the
dubious distributor, and while the band retains rights to their
works, advertising is limited to a low-budget video self-produced
by the band, and word of mouth on the streets. The title track is
THA BOMB really, and while simple in execution, contains the best
performance of 7 of Japan's best MCs (Rino, You The Rock, GK Maryan,
Zeebra, Twigy, Gama and Dev-Large) and a rolling beat topped by
a chugging piano loop brought to you by DJ Yas. I won't even go
into the importance of this single tune to the local scene suffice
to say that alot of kids out here have been feinding for this song
for a LONG time, and its now available to the masses. This IS just
an EP, though, and the remaining tracks, "Dai2Sen" (The Second Battle),
and "Manhole" are by Rino and Gama doing their respective solos in
good form. I still say that Rino is Japan's most talented MC, but
Gama has shown in recent days that "style," even a tripped out style
like he weilds, can make one a contender. A hidden track on the CD
contains a possibly superior remix of "Dai2Sen" also by DJ Yas.
(These new tracks formerly unavailable on vinyl MAY BE made available
on a new pressing in early 1997)
PS - Rino is apparently in Oakland from sometime this week and will
be doing a show or two with the Mystik Journeymen in SF next week.
If anyone in the area is curious about seeing "Japan's Best" (TM),
and is out to support Global Hip Hop, please give him love.