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Rhymes & Revelations April 18, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music, Photos.
Tags: , , , , , ,

I have been trying so hard to focus on strictly native culture here, what is truly Okinawan — to ignore and refuse American or Western influence, especially within music. But last night at a hip-hop/punk concert in Naha, I realized: It’s pretty comforting that some music is so universal.

These originally American, or at least Western, genres of music have traveled halfway around the world to foster the same kind of fraternal atmosphere we get back home. It was one of those kinds of shows where, by the end of it, you feel like you’re homies with everyone there.

There’s nothing inherently Japanese about the music besides the language, but I have trouble understanding lyrics even in English. The DJ played mostly Japanese tracks, but he also bumped NOFX, Op Ivy and House of Pain.

It was a refreshing show, to see rappers and punk rockers on the same stage, live painters and live tattoo artists, hip-hop-heads and punks, fixie kids and skater kids, all together. Those identities were so blurred that my perceptions of people (i.e. judgmental judgments) were totally shot, and then gone.

Basically, the night reminded me that these tags of “American” or “Western” influence are not evil, and really don’t even apply. Hip-hop is still hip-hop, anywhere in the world. Punks are still punks, anywhere in the world.

Rising above any negative history or current affairs, music is meant to be spread, appropriated, reshaped and shared — crossing boundaries in identity, nationality and geography. And if it brings a bit of my idea of home to Japan, then it’s all good, it’s all good!

(The MC at the top is Rino Latina II from Tokyo. He was tight.)



1. Calciopoli II Revelations Continue | My Blog - April 18, 2010

[…] Rhymes & Revelations « oki yo! […]

2. First Lady of Neo Soul in Okinawa « oki yo! - April 19, 2010

[…] And she played my favorite song, “The Healer,” which sums up pretty well what I was trying to say about musical universality in this post. […]

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