Rapper DJ L-Spade Video Review and the Adversities of American Artist in Japan.
It took me a long time to get around to doing this review, but finally a month later I done it.
DJ L-Spade is a hell of a rapper based in the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan, coming here by way of Memphis, Tennessee. He has the music, the beats, and the microphone skills to make it big in the rap industry, but he is plagued by one very major issue, one big adversity he needs to somehow overcome. In this review of L-Spade's new song and video "Dreams", I will explore the adversities of American artists living in Japan and give a critique, as well as offer up some suggestions on what paths he take.
Getting right into it, nothing is wrong with the track production, lyrics, or delivery thereof. The biggest problem with this song lies in the fact that it is a bilingual song with an American rapper rapping all in English, and a Japanese female vocalist "Moe" singing in her native language. By featuring a Japanese vocalist the song fell into an usually unspoken about trap of “who is this made for?” and “why should we be interested?”.
If L-Spade wanted to really hustle hard and ever try to push this release out stateside in the North American market, I think it would fall flat because listeners will be greatly turned off and mostly uninterested in hearing any other language than their own (especially Japanese) in a southern style rap song.
And as for Japan, there is too much English spoken in this song to really not have a great reach here nationally. When you analyze and breakdown why that is, the majority of people here can barely speak any English to begin with, and once you start rapping slang their comprehension level is going to drop down to zero. Sure there are people here that love rap/hip hop, but that is a niche music market and you have to keep in mind these people that listen don’t really understand the music either. They are just emulating a part of American culture and pretending to be apart of it although people like L-Spade really are apart of it and have lived that lifestyle.
Mainstream big name American rappers sell here, but that’s different beast though. Japanese people like to follow and listen to whoever the popular artists are in America, and they watch whatever movies are popular in America too. The reason is because in America we are the trendsetters globally in media and entertainment, and we are the ones putting the big money into our musical talent and motion pictures. When these hip hop lyricists and rap stars are cutting their albums though they are not rapping for the Japanese people or even have them in mind at the time I’m sure. It’s just one of those things where America made them stars first, and then Japanese took notice second because they desire the fame, wealth, and attention these stars garnered back home. Japanese people are in love with the American dream and want to chase our dreams, that’s why they emulate us, but I digress.
DJ L-Spade is a great rapper, and I’m not just saying that to blow smoke up his ass. It's a great video as well. With his dilemma though my advice is this: if you want to grow bigger first you have to decide what market you ultimately would want to make music for, America or Japan? After you choose one, if it is America I say get rid of showcasing and featuring Japanese talent on any of your songs, do them all in English. If you choose Japan, and if it is not possible to rap in Japanese entirely (I can understand that would be a great hurdle in itself), do some bars and rhymes in Japanese and some in English (on every song) as not to alienate your audience completely. This is what I truly believe to be the biggest problem he will face in his music career, but he has the right to disagree with me. It’s just my viewpoint and my advice on the situation. Whatever he does I wish him success, because the point of this advice is not to break anyone down but to help them excel and reach their full potential. He can get it done, but it will require hard work and sacrifice. Hustle x2.