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February 7, 2020
HOW KOHH IS PAVING HIS WAY TO THE FOREFRONT OF ASIA'S HIP-HOP SCENE.
Does anyone remember the “It G Ma 잊지마” music video? I mean, it literally means “never forget” in Korean. Yeah, Japanese rapper KOHH was the last one in the spotlight, with a legendary verse that established his infamous “ARIGATO ありがとう” as a key motif in the song. Many critics went on to say that KOHH’s Japanese part in “It G Ma” stole the show from the Korean Cohort, and that he wasn’t given enough credit for the skill he brought into what would have otherwise been a mediocre song.
The video is how many, outside of Japan, came to know the enigmatic 千葉 雄喜 (or Yūki Chiba), better known by his stage name KOHH. The stylish hip-hop ninja who shows his face at the end of the video dripping swag in a baby pink v-neck sweater, a fresh leather jacket, cuffed jeans, a Polo Ralph Lauren baseball cap, all-black NIKE Air Force Ones (shouted out in his verse, what else?), grillz, and the infamous Mona Lisa tattooed on his neck.
Tokyo native KOHH, also known as Yellow T20, has come a long way since then. His track “Paris 結局地元” was remixed by BROMANCE’s Sam Tiba and quickly became a cult success between BROMANCE’s European fan base and KOHH’s own Asian following. Just when it seemed like KOHH, at the ripe young age of 25, was doing well enough to slowly ease his way to Western audiences, he was invited to support Skepta in the Tokyo Boiler Room that made history. Not only was that Tokyo Boiler Room in early May the official release party for Skepta’s latest LP, fittingly titled Konnichiwa, but it was also a big debut for local rappers KOHH and his longtime friend and constant collaborator, Loota (who is also known for contributing another Japanese verse to “It G Ma.”) In the Boiler Room stream, KOHH’s energy is contagious, as he runs around the room interacting with the audience, screaming into his mic, and shaking his sleek neon green hair. Again, he stole the show.
KOHH has only really been active since the age of 18. He quickly gained a cult underground following in Tokyo, and later throughout Japan. But rapidly, audiences across Asia have picked up on KOHH – not only his intricate raps and trap beats, but also his general swag and aesthetic. Fans from Korea to China can be seen mimicking his signature style, from fluorescently died hair to bold neck tattoos. His affiliation with Boiler Room and Skepta will be sure to skyrocket him to fame in the Western world as well – we give it a few more weeks.
Three days ago, KOHH dropped his music video for his latest single “Die Young.” In true KOHH D.I.Y. fashion, the video profiles him wylin' out to a song that features more rock influences than his previous work. The song is more or less a tribute to the 27 Club, commemorating popular musicians who died young like rockstars at the age of 27. He shouts out Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain.
Check out the track and its accompanying video here.