In my experience, the typical Japan-0-philes of the anime/manga/RPG sort (read: me 10 years ago) generally don’t like rap. Unless, of course it is in Japanese, because somehow it’s just BETTER that way. I’m not sure any of those people are aware of Lil B the Based God, former member of Bay Area quartet The Pack of “Vans” fame despite the fact that he is one of the most prolific internet personalities out right now.
The Based God dropped his album “I’m Gay (I’m Happy)” to iTunes recently without telling anyone. Lots of people were trippin’ about the title, but some of us just listened and when we did, we heard a song called “Gon Be Okay”:
The song includes an inspirational soundbyte of Obama talking about “Change”©, but hmmm, those piano chords sound awfully familiar… Where have I heard them before??
Ah yes! That Oscar winning Miyazaki film from 10 years ago! Jo Hisaishi is Studio Ghibli’s main tune smith and over the years he has developed a certain “Ghibli sound” which is most evident in his piano pieces; delicate, melody-driven straight-forward pieces that sound like they either start or end a film because they often do. The downside to the “sound” is that some of the music ends up sounding the same. Matter fact, I’m certain there’s a note phrase in “One Summer’s Day” that is lifted straight from Princess Mononoke’s “Ashitaka and San”. Not that it matters.
BONUS ROUND: I will prepare and mail a batch of cookies to the reader who can connect the dots between all these indie rappers sampling Japanese pianists.