Tag Archives: Nippon

AK-69 Performed Live at S.O.B.’s

Read in Japanese

New York’s legendary Hip-Hop radio station Hot 97 hosted its Who’s Next? Live at S.O.B’s and invited AK69 as a special guest.

Who’s Next? Live is a showcase for up and coming artists in the Hip Hop world that have generated enough buzz to warrant performing for a Hot 97 event.  Hosted by Hot 97′s own Peter Rosenberg and Shani Kulture, performers included: Japan’s No. 1 selling Hip-Hop artist, AK-69; Bishop Nehru; Yungstar 6’3; Dyme-A-Duzin; and 360.

DJ did his thing to hype up the show playing Jay-Z’s old hits like, “”Money Ain’t A Thing,” “Big Pimpin’,” “Heart Of The City,” “ROC Boys” and more. 20 something young audience seemed to know all the songs.

Up first was Japan native (from Nagoya to be exact) AK-69. Proclaimed the “Jay-Z of Japan,” AK-69 definitely showed us why he is deserving of such accolades. He has a great flow and even though he was not understood the whole time (he performed in both Japanese and English,) it was evident he had talent as a rapper and singer!

He performed 4 songs from his latest album, “The Independent King” which I believe he’s living up to the album title. Damn, he’s got swag. A lot of it. The song, “Independent King” shows what he is today is a result of fighting his own battle and doing things the way that he can only do.

Closing his set with the rapper’s anthem to be “Yellow Gold,” he sang ♪♪yellow gold, yellow gold, yellow gold, ya know we gotta shine like yellow gold……♪ AK-69 really represented Nippon!!

AK-69 Official Site


Watch AK-69’s interview on FCI Morning EYE via Youtube (English subtitled)

DJジューン&クリントン・スパークス日本制覇!DJ June Invades Nippon with American Super DJ Clinton Sparks!

DJ Clinton Sparks & DJ JuneREAD IN ENGLISH

DJジューン&クリントン・スパークス 日本制覇!
DJ June Invades Nippon with American Super DJ Clinton Sparks!


Dance Floor 3 - @ Genius Tokyo


Dance Floor 2 - @ Genius Tokyo - June



DJ Booth 1 - @ Genius Tokyo


DJ Clinton Sparks @ Genius Tokyo

DJ Clinton Sparks オリジナル・メガネ配布!


Go Go Girls 2 - @ Genius Tokyo

この夏、メジャー・レーベルからミックスCD のリリースが決まり超多忙。仲良しのラッパー、リック・ロスやエレクトロの大スター、Macklemore とのコラボ曲も収録することになっています。「ジニアス・トーキョー」でのプレイでもそんな仲間たちの曲をミックスしてパーティーを盛り上げてくれました。昨年にリリースした本人プロデュース曲「Watch You」はアメリカでも大ブレイクしましたが、銀座のクラブ「ジニアス・トーキョー」でかけたところ大反響、フロアが狂喜したそうです。「こんなに反応してくれると思わなかった。凄く嬉しい!トーキョー大好き!」と大興奮のクリントンでした。


「ニッポン、ベスト、I’ll be back!」、また来るという言葉を残してアメリカに帰っていきました。


DJ June Invades Nippon with American Super DJ Clinton Sparks!

DJ Clinton Sparks @ Genius Tokyo


DJ June Invades Nippon with American Super DJ Clinton Sparks!

Harlem2Nippon’s lovely DJ June and her friend, DJ Clinton Sparks, hit Nippon’s big club named “Genius Tokyo” on Wednesday, April 3 located in fashionable Ginza, the upscale district that looks like the Fifth Avenue of New York City.

Sparks was the featured guest DJ for “Super Star Wednesday,” a special party specifically launched for him. This was the first attempt for “Genius Tokyo” to feature a DJ from overseas. DJ June opened the show and pumped the crowd into a frenzy playing smooth R&B, edgy hip-hop and bangin’ club music. June said, “I know how to make ladies dance,” and she proved it.

Sparks is a Grammy nominated celebrity DJ from Boston, Massachusetts who has spun in several foreign cities including London, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, and Manila. He had never performed in Tokyo and was definitely looking forward to rockin’ the crowd with DJ June.

A rainstorm had the Genius Tokyo owner nervous about the turnout, but the attraction of two world class DJs had the club packed!

When asked how he prepared for his first party in Tokyo, Sparks said, “I got a haircut. Through June’s connection, I got 50% discount so I only paid $70.” This was a significant bargain because he usually spends $400 to $500 for haircut in London and Hollywood.

Dance Floor 3 - @ Genius Tokyo

Sparks is known for his hyper performances, and he lived up to his reputation, standing up in the DJ booth, singing, rapping and screaming with the music. His infectious energy made him an instant favorite, and the party people loved the gifts he tossed into the crowd: custom made glasses with his name on it.

In addition to producing music for Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, Snoop Dogg and many more, Sparks also released his own song as a producer/performer, “Watch You in 2012. He was overwhelmed by the crazy response when he played the tune in Genius Tokyo. “People went bananas,” he said.

After five days in Tokyo, Sparks is in love with the city. He’s looking forward to his next visit as he announced with a huge smile, “I’ll be back!”

Nippon Hip Hop Nation – 1 Miss Hitoe from SPEED



Nippon Hip Hop Nation – 1

Miss Hitoe from SPEED

 The first guest for our new feature “Nippon Hip Hop Nation” Special Interview series is a good friend of mine, Miss Hitoe of SPEED.

Hitoe Arakaki ,is the oldest member of the Japanese pop girl group SPEED, which disbanded in 2000 and reformed in 2009. Their first album since their reunion, 4 Colors, will be released on November 14, 2012.

Arakaki was born in Okinawa, Japan, and is also known by her first name, Hitoe. Her trademarks are her enthusiastic dancing as well as her wild and eccentric hairstyles.

Speed made their major label debut on August 5, 1996 and became an immediate success. Their debut album Starting Over became their first number one album on Japan’s Oricon weekly charts. They would eventually become the most successful girl group in Asia with sales of over 20 million singles and albums in just three years and eight months. The members disbanded on March 31, 2000 to pursue solo careers and to study.

Speed – Ashita No Sora

In 1999, Hitoe released her first solo single, “Inori”, which reached number two on the Oricon charts. On December 2002, she released her second single “I Got You” and the album I’ll Do It My Way. Besides “Inori,” she co-wrote all the tracks on the album. In February 2003, she released her third single, “I’ll Do It My Way”.

Hitoe is also an accomplished graphic artist, and following Speed’s breakup, she moved to New York City to attend art school. She is known for her distinctive graffiti styled paintings often depicting African-American life style. She has published an art book called “Vibe Art” and has held private exhibitions in Tokyo and New York. Her work has also been featured on the covers of various American Hip Hop compilation CDs.

Hitoe also became active in yoga and is a licensed yoga instructor in Japan.  In June 2007, she published a book and DVD of yoga lessons. Hitoe is currently teaching yoga in Shibuya, Japan’s Star Light Studio.

SPEED Discography

Studio Albums

1997         Starting Over

1998         Rise

1999          Carry On My Way

2003         Bridge

Other Albums

1998         Moment

2000         SPEED The Memorial best 1335 Days Dear Friends 1

2000         SPEED The Memorial best 1335 Days Dear Friends 2

2001         SPEED Memorial Live “One More Dream” + Remix

2004         Best Hits Live: Save The Children SPEED Live 2003

2009         SPEEDland: The Premium Best Re Tracks

Hitoe’s interview coming soon!

Yasuko Ito