Suika Kakkoii

For their fourth album, Suika, an artsy hip-hop quintet from Tokyo, Japan, have finally presented an album that foreign audiences can appreciate. While the lyrics of spoken word poet Toto and MCs Atom and Takatsuki will remain a mystery to those unable to understand Japanese, Kakkoii (Japanese for "cool”) is a lively combination of samples and live music that results in a catchy blend of hip-hop, funk and jazz, with minor dabbling in drum & bass and reggae. There is heavy emphasis on keyboards throughout, which is understandable considering keyboard player Kaztake Takeuchi is also the group’s primary producer. The other producer is Takatsuki, who also plays the wood bass, as well as contributing raps. Completing the live band element is drummer Yuko Takahashi. This time around the music is certainly more fun, but Suika also create memorable, easy to digest hooks that are often easy enough to sing along to, even for an English-speaking audience. As well, Atom and Takatsuki remain tight with their flows, while Toto now presents her poems a lot more like raps. It adds increased flow to the music for those who aren’t really listening for lyrics. Sure, the Japanese lyrics will likely turn some potential fans off but the party potential of Kakkoii will appeal to adventurous hip-hop fans, who would be well-advised to check this album out. (Fly N' Spin)