Friday, August 10, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW - KOWICHI (enmaku) - The Chips

A few days ago I bought KOWICHI (enmaku)'s latest album The Chips off of iTunes. With a glance you can find a lot of Hip Hop from Japan on there. KOWICHI is a member of the group enmaku with fellow rapper d.u.g. from Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan and The Chips is his first solo release. I decided to get this after watching some trailers of the music videos that are to come from the album, which feature some of the best producers around. The trailers can be viewed via Street Official's YouTube channel. Okay, without further ado, lets dig into The Chips!

Intro is basically that, an intro that features water dripping in what I believe is a sewer and then some powerful violin kicks in with piano and a faded out police radio with sirens going by and ends with a metal door closing. Stand On My Hood has a very hood style sound to it, the kind you might here in America. KOWICHI uses auto-tune for the hook, but that's not a bad thing at all of you can use it right. Both the intro and Stand On My Hood are produced by NATO. NATO actually produced quite a few tracks on here, but we'll get to that later. Next we have Show & Prove which is pure West Coast Hip Hop in terms of beat and KOWICHI's flow. This shouldn't be a surprise as this track is produced by DJ PMX, the man who along with partner-in-crime Kayzabro through the group DS455, brought West Coast Hip Hop from America into the forefront in Japan with their own brand of Hip Hop from Yokohama.

The next track which is called Time, has a very mellow,yet upbeat feel to it and features CIMBA doing very smooth, downright beautiful singing for the hook. The beat features some amazing acoustic guitar as well, all courtesy of DJ RYUUKI. The next song is a skit called Overkill!! "The Chips" Skit and is a girl announcer announcing The Chips and plays different samples of songs on the album, like when a radio station plays samples of an album to hype it up. The skit and sampling is mixed by DJ FILLMOREWe Gettin' Over comes next and it features guest vocals by fellow rappers SIMON and JOYSTICKK. You can tell that this track is a NATO one because of the way he builds tracks, don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing at all, it actually reminds me of a song you might hear by SIMON himself on one of his albums.

Next we have another track by NATO, he's earned producing so many tracks on this album since they're all so good. Change the Game has a simplistic beat of sorts, female vocal backing, drums and piano, all combine to be very upbeat. Honey Hunt features a tiny skit in the beginning of a short phone conversation and kicks into the trademark hyped up vocals of DJ TY-KOH, no DJ can lend vocals to a song like TY-KOH in my opinion, he also makes some hot beats as well! The song also features new comer (at least to me) GIPPER rapping as well. The beat is very club oriented, like this is the song you hear in the club when you want to party, a perfect party song basically.

The next track called Heat It Up is very appropriate a title since from the time the beat kicks in and the auto-tune vocals start, you're swept away to Cali, on the beach, chillin' and enjoying the sun, sand and the ladies! This beat is courtesy of DJ☆GO, who also does backing vocals for the track. You may have noticed that I haven't talked much about KOWICHI himself, just a lot about the featured artists, well just listen to this man rap and you'll see why it stands for itself, don't think I'm dissing KOW, this is HIS album after all! Where was I...Oh yeah! The next song is called Dream Girl and is very mellow and is very close to a love song. KOWICHI raps and sings in perfect melody, using an auto-tune (I'm an auto-tune junkie I love them!). This is definitely a great song to just chill to, sing along with and vibe, maybe while you think of your dream girl/boy! This simplistic, mellow, almost R&B, yeah that's the word I was thinking of, R&B beat is courtesy of NATO.

Invisible Lady is next and has an almost dance song feel to it and features KOWICHI killing it and bringing in the occasional auto-tune singing. The beats are produced by DJ NAOtheLAIZA. The last track on the album starts off with rock guitar and features KOWICHI rapping in auto-tune, basically the hook of the song then KOWICHI starts rapping normally. This beat has a mix of guitar,organ, drums and a sort of snapping sampling that all make for a great beat. This track is produced by JIGG and is a very strong track to end an album on.

Overall, The Chips is a very strong first release from a guy who really knows how to rap and do it well, not exactly the easiest thing in the world. I don't see anything negative about this album, it didn't end weakly and it lasts a while at 12 tracks, at not even $9 for such quality hip hop from Japan is a blessing! You can pick up The Chips at iTunes.


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