Spiritual Juice Drum Rap

There might be somewhat of a language barrier, but Japan is home to a growing number of superb hip-hop groups: Soul Scream, Rhymester and Da Blue Herb, to name just a few. Add to this list Tokyo quintet Spiritual Juice, who helped to finance their debut EP by selling DJ mix tapes and demo cassettes by hand on the hip streets of the Shibuya district for about six dollars, Canadian, each. Their two previous demos, TMA and Trimlty, were rough but showed a lot of promise - which has been fulfilled with Drum Rap. I'm not sure if it's because there's a tradition of drums in Japan, but there's definitely a huge emphasis on chunky, drum-heavy beats. Combined with the unusual sample choices by producers Super Yaji and Tatsuki, the instrumentals give Spiritual Juice their own unique flavour. Lyrically, I have no idea what they are saying (although it makes me want to learn Japanese), but the flows of all three MCs work well with the beats, acting as another instrument within the song. There's not really a bad moment throughout the six songs on this EP, from the militant march of opening track "Spiritual Juice Style" to the up-tempo bonus track that was produced and rapped solely by Atom. And for those who care, the artwork is also phenomenal. Find at all costs! (Independent)