Awich, short for “Asia Wish Child,” has established herself as one of Japan’s top hip hop artists and is set to redefine the hierarchy of the community. The Okinawa-born MC has become one of the most fierce acts, balancing swaggering numbers and swinging lyrical flexes most MC’s can only dream of.
Her musical journey began with a chance trip to a CD store thanks to her cousin. “My cousin wanted to go. I went, and she said I could pick whatever I wanted, and she’d rent it for me.” It’s important to note that hip hop was starting to redefine the direction of popular music in Japan thanks to American artists getting more time in the spotlight and domestic artists rising up to the mainstream. Intrigued by the genre, then teen Awich “went to the hip hop section, and just closed my eyes and picked one. That was 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me.”
She did her homework on 2Pac, reading his lyrics, listening to all of his interviews, and was totally captured by what she heard. Awich had been writing poetry since she was 9 so she learned to bend the art towards music and continued to learn the history and style of hiphop.
The lead single from her brand new, major label debut Partition, “Shook Shook” was shaped after one memorable headline show. “I did a headline set at a show with a whole bunch of dude rappers. Real macho dudes. They all went before me…but I was the headline. A woman, as the finale, like a queen. Like a boss bitch,” she says. “The audience didn’t expect that…a girl, after all these dudes?”
Awich’s latest single, “Bad Bad” has a more “vibe-y” feel than “Shook Shook” and shows off how multifaceted she is. The track focuses the uncertainty of new love, from the strength of taking on the world with someone new by your side, to the strange feeling of weakness around wanting someone to stay. The video for “Bad Bad” was scouted by Awich, filmed on her home island of Okinawa and features real life friends and her daughter, showcasing her life and love on the island. When asked about the direction of the video, director, Kento Yamada (Double Tokyo) states, “A rapper, a woman and a mother. I’m honored to be able to capture various faces of Awich on this video in her homeland Okinawa.”
That’s the energy and stage presence Awich brings to every performance. She’s tackling the male-centric music industry, and cornering the Japanese rap market with her story and unmatched flow. “I want to be one of the best rappers in Japanese rap history,” she says. “And internationally, I want to be one of the first Japanese artists that can really communicate who she is and where she comes from.”
Partition expands every side of her and highlights Awich’s strong writing skills while also experimenting with different moods. “Awake” flows gently with lyrics that comfort the listener while “Patrona” cuts like a knife sharpened with intent.
Awich is also adamant about using her platform to raise awareness in Japan about social injustices and most recently the Black Lives Matter movement by taking to her social media to show support, and speaking at panels aimed at educating local audiences.
Watch the official video for “Bad Bad” below.
Listen to Partition on your favorite streaming platform now!