Underappreciated Hip Hop duo09 March, 2010 by Chad
One of the lesser known artists constantly on my playlist is the hip-hop duo known as Halcali. I was first introduced to Halcali some 4 years ago when their fresh sound and quirky antics instantly caught my attention.
Halcali are the proteges of the famous rap group Rip Slyme. The group’s name is derived from the names of its two members, Haruka and Yukari (Harukari which is romanized to Halcali). Close friends since their childhood days, both girls attended the same schools since their elementary days. They also took dance lessons together and dreamed of becoming back up dancers one day.
When Rip Slyme held auditions to form a new rap group back in 2002, Haruka and Yukari joined just for the fun of it. They won.
Halcai’s sound is a unique combination of pop and rap. Many of their songs have a rather surreal sound. The first song I was introduced to was their 6th single, Baby Blue!. While its definitely a rap song, it also features a strange hypnotic effect due to the song’s looping beats. It’s a song like no other and is too hard to describe accurately in words (instead I’ll link the video).
Halcali’s older songs feature whimsical but playfully down to earth lyrics. They rapped about the things you would expect two teenage girls to rap about…nonsense. It is this nonsense that makes Halcali’s songs so charming. Instead of the pretentious bullshit that plagues mainstream rap, Halcali rapped about stuff like school, gym class, silly crushes and holidays. Things that youths actually experience.
In their music videos, Halcali pair their silly lyrics with hilarious antics. In the video for their Christmasy single Strawberry Chips, Haruka and Yukari dressed up as Christmas trees and break dance. In Giri Giri Surfrider, the duo break up a gang fight with Michael Jackson inspired dance moves. In Togenkyo, they danced outside random ramen shops.
Halcali’s videos feature lots of pop culture reference in interesting ways. The level of strangeness brings a certain artistic quality to some of their videos. Watching them goof around in each of their videos is also incredibly entertaining. The public however, isn’t impressed. While they maintain their own small cult following, Halcali’s music sells abysmally. Though Giri Giri Surfrider (their best selling song to date) sold around 40,000 copies, most of their other songs share similar sales to Baby Blue! which sold less than 6000 copies. Their 2007 single, It’s Party Time sold only 600 copies on the first week.
Recently, the duo have been experimenting with different sounds while trying for a little more mainstream appeal. Having matured, they’ve started to take their work a little more seriously. This comes at the cost of losing some of their charm though. Their newer singles have been featured as theme songs for various television programs but they are still unable to warrant more than one single release a year. When not releasing new music, Haruka and Yukari spend their time performing at small events. Their new label, Epic Records has also been scheduling them for events in America and Europe the past couple of years.
Since their last album the girls have started writing and composing their own music. Right now they’re preparing to release their 4th album which will hopefully be out later this year.Click here to search CDJapan for Halcali and other related items.