LIVE REPORTWHITE STAGE7/28 SUN
Window into a rough world
In the world of Japanese hip-hop and rap, most of what comes to mind are rappers with lighthearted, feel-good party tunes. KOHH does not fit this mold.
Intimidating in appearance and delivery, Tokyo-native KOHH with his extensive tattoos and piercings and aggressive bulldog stance does not appear to be a rapper you want to mess with.
Though he does show a slightly softer side at times, for example on opener “Hitotsu” which incorporates autotuned vocals and sounds a bit like a Japanese version of The Weeknd, KOHH doesn’t stay in that territory long. Immediately leaping into heavier and harder waters, deep pounding bass provides a backdrop for strained shouts with KOHH barking like a junkyard dog.
Accompanied by glitchy visuals that seemed to mash up the real world live stage footage with trippy CG worlds was interesting and disorienting, bringing the crowd into his world.
Abrupt ends to songs, spliced with beat-poet-like interludes of freestyle acapella rap were also unexpected soundscapes that felt almost as if being scolded at.
It has been said that KOHH had been brought up in a world of drugs and violence, quite an uncommon occurrence in Japan, and if true, then one can without a doubt see that in his music and performances. That he found a way to channel that violent past into his art as a performer gives KOHH a realness that can’t be found in a large chunk of Japanese rap.