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DJ Krush, perhaps Japan's top hip-hop DJ, has come a long way since his days with the Krush Posse in the late 1980s. From his heady, acid jazz-tinged beat making days for the label Mo' Wax to his jazzy experiments for Sony, Krush has remained consistently devoted to the art of his craft. Although not all his endeavors have been as creatively successful as classic albums like Meiso and Strictly Turntablized, fans have remained faithful to the deft and innovative DJ, producer, scratcher and beat juggler. He's now being honored by the release of History of DJ Krush, a 3xDVD retrospective, packaged beautifully with a color booklet that details his history, discography, and gigography, with a well-written piece by Noriko Asano.
The first disc of the set is an artsy, abstract image documentary from 1996. Cut together with a David Lynchian sensibility, the 45-minute film renders the power of Krush through slow-mo performance footage, dramatic photography, and excellent studio footage from the time. A highlight of the latter is footage of Mos Def recording "Light (Can You See It?)" back when the MC was still hungry and fresh. The second disc is a more thorough and recent 70-minute film featuring interviews with Krush and many of the hip-hop luminaries he's worked with. From Charlie Ahearn, director of the seminal Wild Style, to DJ Shadow, Company Flow, Black Thought, Zap Mama, and the Anticon crew, all offer their thoughts about and respect for the venerable DJ. A Japanese designer Krush has worked with describes the DJ's musical style as "samurai"-like, while Krush himself talks about the "trance-like elements" that give his beats a darker tone. This is an interesting and nicely shot film, definitely worth being considered essential material for the artist's hardcore fans. The third and final disc in the History collection consists of a slew of music videos shown in a sequence highlighting the evolution of the format's production values as they become more modern. Featured songs include "Only the Strong Survive," featuring CL Smooth, and "Danger of Love," featuring Zap Mama.
DJ Krush can be considered a hip-hop pioneer, not just in his native Japan, but throughout the world. Never content to remain within the confines of typical boom-bap, his constant blending with genres like jazz and electronic music have made him a truly unique voice in rap music. History provides the artful proof. SEE ALSO: www.mmjp.or.jp/sus/krush
SEE ALSO: www.mowax.com
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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