Japanese hip-hop duo Yurufuwa Gang makes hype-beast rap that would fit right into place alongside 88Rising’s colorful lineup. Sporting eclectic clothing, a lo-fi hip hop aesthetic, and an intimidating fuck-you attitude, Ryugo Ishida and Sophiee are poised to be the next big crossover hit from Japan. Two albums (Mars Ice House, Mars Ice House II), a solo mixtape (Sophiee as NENE), and an 88Rising featured video later, Yurufuwa Gang is making their presence known in the music scene. Their latest venture? A collaborative project, Circus Circus EP with Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth which is set to release this Friday. Already they’ve released “Fresh All Day” from that album, a low-key slacker anthem about “smoking all day”–not out of line from what Yurufuwa Gang has released so far. Today they’ve returned with “Shining,” and they’ve enlisted Giraffage to aid with the track’s production.
There’s a distinct difference between the intentionally muffled “Fresh All Day” and the bubbling, dance-oriented “Shining.” It’s an impressive return to form for Giraffage, whose last production credit was back in 2017. “Shining” fizzes and pops with excitement, amplified by Yurufuwa Gang’s vibrant Japanese raps. Yurufuwa Gang’s music, which is usually more scaled back and influenced by soft R&B and deep bass, truly begins to take on a different form. “Shining” marks a change of sound for the duo–though the same can’t be said about their eccentric lyrics (Ishida casually drops the line “SNIFF COCAINE” and “COOKING CHICKEN” somewhere in the mix)!
At the end of the song, “Shining” closes on the sounds of a casino slot machine with Sophiee screaming “JACKPOT!” over a bustling background. And she’s completely right–they’ve hit it big.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.