Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ARTIST PROFILE - RYUZO (R-Rated Records) - RYUZO Puts the R in R-Rated.

When you think "R" you think an R rated movie or Restricted, but in Japan a man has turned it into a household name in Japanese Hip Hop. I typically warn you when something I post will have some R-Rated material, but this R-Rated is entirely different and not the least less as entertaining as the OTHER R-Rated.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, RYUZO is a rapper, producer and runs his own record label so if there's one thing you can tell about him from the start it is that this man has an amazing work ethic. RYUZO started rapping in 1995, forming the group MAGUMA MC's with fellow rapper N.O.B. and was the only MC from Kyoto who participated in the legendary Japanese 12 inch single "OWL NIGHT", During the late 90's RYUZO performed as an opening act for many famous US hip hop artists such as RAKIM, NAS, REDMAN, COMPANY FLOW, BUSTARHYMES, CAMP LO, NICE & SMOOTH, GANGSTARR, DMX, BLACK STARR and many more in Japan. In 1998 he formed a group called GREEN FORCE CREW with a crew from Osaka called DESPERADO and organized the biggest events in Osaka for some time. 

In 2001, RYUZO formed a group called YOUNG GUNZ which included MAGUMA MC's (from Kyoto), M.O.S.A.D. (from Nagoya), and OZROSAURUS (from Yokohama), and recorded a song on OZROSAURUS's first album, "ROLLIN' 045". In 2003, a full album by MAGUMA MC's, "MASSIVE" was released and RYUZO also participated in DABO's third album, "Diamond" as a featuring artist. In 2004, he was featured in DJ CELORY's album "BEATS JAPAN" and MOSOZOKU's forth album "SHINKOSAKUSEN". He also went on Japan tour with DABO, then with DJ EVIL DEE from the BEATMINERZ. In 2005, he was featured in DJ HAZIME's first album "AIN'T NO STOPPIN THE DJ" as well as "E"QUAL's first major EP "GODATSU GAME", DJ RYOW's first album "PROJECT DREAMS", 565 FAMILIA's first album "GANGSTA BOOGIE", KONAMI compilation album "573", and DELI's second album "24".In 2005 he started his own independent label "R-RATED RECORDS" with his homeboys from Kyoto (ANARCHY and LA BONO), and released a long waiting solo album "RELOADED" with backups by AVEX ENTERTAINMENT, FUTURE SHOCK and BABY MARIO PRODUCTION (DABO's label). In 2006, RYUZO went on tour with his label artists in over 40 locations and started spreading the name "R-RATED RECORDS" all over Japan in just 3 months. While expanding his career as an executive producer for his artists such as ANARCHY, LA BONO, YOUNG BERY, and NAUGHTY, he released his own maxi-single, "STREET DREAMS" in 2006. 

RYUZO released his second full album "DOCUMENT" in Decmber 2007. In 2009, RYUZO's song "THE MC" was featured in the Warner Brothers Pictures movie "Ninja Assassin" (starring Korean R&B singer Rain) as well as on the soundtrack of the movie, as well as being featured on a song by Rapper-DJ duo Cypress Ueno & Robert Yoshino's album "WONDER WHEEL"  on a track called "START LINE" . In April 2010, RYUZO released his single simply titled The R as well as working with some equally well known names in Japanese hip hop such as TWIGY, SEEDA, HANNYA, and DABO to name a few as well as the R-Rated Records crew, working side by side with famous New York City producer Ski Beatz on a compilation album called "24 Hour Karate School Japan" and on December 31st 2010 performed live at a special New Years Countdown Event, backed by New York band THE SENSEIS, a DVD of the performance would go on to be released in April of the next year.

Nearly a year to the date after releasing The R, RYUZO released his latest album called "HAZARD" which featured fellow R-Rated Records artists such as ANARCHY, LA BONO and fellow rappers DABO, SUIKEN, MACCHO (OZROSAURUS) as well as reggae artist, rapper and DJ; RUEED and even featured a song with singer-songwriter Takayoshi Fukuhara. Later the next month he was also featured on a song with Yellow Diamond Crew member ZEUS on his first full album "Raw Ore" on a song called "Vice City". Throughout the rest of 2011 RYUZO remained busy producing two compilation albums with a whole host of artists consisting of mostly R-Rated Records artists with a few nice surprises.

So far in 2012 R-Rated Records and by extension RYUZO have remained busy, releasing an album by new R-Rated Records duo THUGMINATI (T.O.P. & DJ 8MAN) "New World Murder The Mixtape" with tracks featuring Triga Finga, DJ-TYKOH, SEEDA, DESTINO and new R-Rated Records artist SMITH-CN. Last month R-Rated Records released the latest album by super-group RUFF NECK (ANARCHY, YOUNG BERY, JC & DJ AKIO) which RYUZO oversaw the production of called "RUFF TREATMENT" and was featured on the track "Run 90's" as well as tracks featuring artists including DEE & CLUTCH from G.S.S.;and fellow R-Rated Records artist LA BONO.

It's only a few days away from July and although RYUZO himself and R-Rated Records do not have anything coming out soon, and with ANARCHY wrapping up his latest tour, you can look for R-Rated Records to get right back in the studio and record, come to think of it...they may be keeping a new release under wraps until it's good and ready. A new RYUZO single or album? A solo album by GAZZILA or SMITH-CN? I don't know, but I do know that it can't be easy to run a label, produce music and create your own songs along with trying to make R-Rated Records the #1 hip hop label in Japan and I think RYUZO wouldn't have it any other way.

You can purchase all of R-Rated Records releases (unless they're out of print) at HMV and on iTunes. Note: 5boro5DJ is out, but not outside of Japan and is not available online that I can find.

RYUZO  (RYUZO Official site) (Twitter) (Myspace)

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