Bringing idol rap to the forefront

17 March, 2013 by

Much like the other group that uses the tagline ‘3MCs, 1DJ’, Rhymeberry couldn’t be farther away from a group you expect to be doing rap. A group of 4 girls, all under the age of 15, they definitely don’t look like they fit anywhere near the vicinity of a dope rhyme. But nevertheless, these girls put on a great show and are fast gaining traction in a ruthless industry full of cutesy pop and frilly dresses.

A group that spawned from the usa☆usa shoujo club collective, Rhymeberry is made up of MCs MIRI, HIME and YUKA. The 3 MCs are supported by DJ HIKARU. While you might think that a U15 turntablist is a ridiculously rare find on its own, DJ HIKARU plays a role that’s not unlike that of a tsundere hype-man, rather than that of a DJ ― she spends most of her time on stage spinning a CD turntable that’s not really connected to anything.

Nevertheless, the group seems to have a dynamic that fits, and each of the girls brings something to the table that comes together to form an idol-voltron. While a hip-hop influence is not particularly uncommon in idol music, Rhymeberry is one of few to really tackle the genre of rap proper without sugarcoating it with idol-pop. Their catalog fits better alongside a record of Teriyaki Boyz than it does HALCALI.

Speaking of catalogs, Rhymeberry does not really have much of one. Their first single (a brother-con single titled HEY! BROTHER) was released in July last year and a double A-side is dropping at the end of this month. The group has a throwback sound, with their backing tracks sounding funky, bassy and organic. To quote a friend who heard them, Rhymeberry has “better instrumentals than actual rappers”.

The brilliant use of instrumentals combine very well with the girls’ own energy, serving to supplement rather than drown, and the girls themselves are very good at hyping out the crowd at their live performances. The call and response of rap translates really well to the idol fan crowd and it adds a lot of energy to their performances. While they’ve shared stages with other groups like lyrical school, the fans always seem to always seem more excited when Rhymberry comes on.

Rhymeberry is a refreshing take on an idol group, and it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here. The group is in fact so underground, they don’t really have an official page, and instead has an official Twitter account. They also seem to regularly upload live videos on their YouTube channel. Hip-hop heads should definitely check this fledgling group out, if only to pad their backpacker credentials.

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Writer who also doubles as the photographer during event coverage. Mus' interests in Japan lie in the language, literature, popular culture and underground rock bands. Having an academic background in Japan, Mus is also particularly interested in the study of Nihonjinron.