Buster Bros!!!, rap crew representing Ikebukuro, and originated from Idea Factory and Otomate‘s collaboration with King Records EVIL LINE RECORDS, bring with them a tough sound with powerful rhymes and imposing instrumentals, even if there are some hiccups along the way.
For those that have been out of the loop:
Buster Bros!!! is a rap crew representing Ikebukuro that consists of Subaru Kimura, Haruki Ishiya, Kouhei Amasaki.
Title: Buster Bros!!! Generation Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS (King Records) Release date: 25/10/2017 Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop
1 - 俺が一郎 (Subaru Kimura) 2 - センセンフコク(Haruki Ishiya) 3 - New star(Kouhei Amasaki) 4 - イケブクロ・ディビジョン Buster Bros!!! Drama Track1 5 - イケブクロ・ディビジョン Buster Bros!!! Drama Track2 6 - 俺が一郎 (off vocal ver.) 7 - センセンフコク (off vocal ver.) 8 - New star (off vocal ver.)
Track by track analysis:
1 – 俺が一郎
This single kicks off strongly. The instrumental revisits an old school sound that mixes sampled parts with a simple beat and some rock imbued instrumentalization. The strings with which this song kicks of – and are looped throughout the whole piece – set an urgent and dramatic tone to this instrumental, there’s a variety of synth samples. From washy to soothing synths there is a little bit of everything to add a slightly danceable sound to this instrumental. A sampled beat with a mix of hi-hats and bass drum sets the slow and imposing pace to this song. The instrumental makes good use of guitar riffs adding the final edgy, raw touches to the instrumental. This song is a statement, a powerful presentation of his character. Subaru Kimura‘s performance is just like the real deal. His voice tone fits this “tough” sound and his flow stands out. Instrumental and rap on point. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the best song on this release. 5/5
2 – センセンフコク (Haruki Ishiya)
Yet another fantastic instrumental piece comes into our attention. センセンフコク brings to the table a rap-rock instrumental, revisiting that early 00’s trend in the best way possible. But if you’re expecting a full out heavy rock song you’ll be disappointed. There are heavy guitar riffs and powerful, loud drums in some sections of the song – mainly the chorus – but its the verse sections that shine. Those guitar licks playing in the background as well as the bassline are such a great combination and a massive contrast with the rawer, heavier instrumentalization in the chorus. The verses had a groovy vibe with an introspective touch. We found ourselves jamming to the verses and headbanging to the chorus. Haruki Ishiya had a louder piece on his hands to perform. A rap-rock piece demanded versatile vocals or at least good enough vocal skills to deal with it. Ishiya was up to the task. A mix of groovy rapping and a rawer, tougher and slightly screamed singing make his performance one of the toughest to approach but also one of the most impactful. 5/5
3 – New star (Kouhei Amasaki)
Using as its main sample Bach‘s “Air on a G String“, this instrumental keeps everything on a minimum. With the help of 808’s samples, we were presented with a bassy sound, one befitting of the classic lead sample. The instrumental is nothing special besides the mix of classical music with hip-hop, other than that, this instrumental is too quiet and uneventful, even by hip-hop standards. Onto the rap performance: we can say that Kouhei Amasaki‘s performance is what is often mentioned as “idol rapping”. Not much skilled (or at all), more spoken than rapped, forced and with lack of flow. We found ourselves bored midway through the performance. If that wasn’t enough, the chorus is not the best we’ve ever heard, in fact, on a first listen it’s a bit weird to listen to, however the following listens made us want to skip this song as soon as the chorus kicked in. You might want to skip listening to this one. 2.5/5
First of all, HYPNOSIS MIC isn’t a project for idol level rapping skills (even if this group has one member that is on that or even lower skill level). Think of this project as a step closer to the big league rappers. Due to its large scale and the labels behind it, it sure does seem like it. All seiyuu are put to the test to perform a full rap/hip-hop song and what we got with Buster Bros!!!‘s first release was more than what we could ever ask for, especially for a first ever seiyuu rap battle project. Don’t be fooled by the final rating we gave to this release. We have two incredibly songs on this release.
The quality of the instrumentals is high. Famous DJ’s and hip-hop producers in Japan lent their talents to create some of the most explosive and addictive beats with high quality sampling – even if, at times, that didn’t fit well with the ones performing -, the addition of guitars to two of the three songs included in this release made Buster Bros!!!‘s sound stand out with their daring and imposing demeanor, it is as if they were saying “don’t mess with us”. Punchy beats, guitar riffs, sampled sections and an overall attention to detail led to an overall fantastic release. Their blend of rock elements and groovy beats leads to their tough and edgy sound.
The rap performances:
Subaru Kimura sets the bar insanely high with his solo track. We’re not kidding when we mention that Kimura has real rapper skills. His flow and diction (a quick reminder that Kimura is German) are on point and the groovy way in which he chains all lines is something that even some mainstream Japanese rappers lack. We could tell from his performance – even putting aside his self proclaimed rap/hip-hop love – that he loves the music genre. His energy and power led to an engaging performance that made his song stay on repeat for more time than usual on our side.
Haruki Ishiya was a complete surprise. He held his own incredibly well for someone rapping for the first time ever with this release. And his song was far from easy to perform. The mix between rock and rap demanded versatile vocals – because rapping and singing or screaming are completely different things – and he surprised us tackling the song with ease on all ends. His flow is also incredibly good, we found ourselves jamming to his rapping.
Kouhei Amasaki‘s performance was, at best, forgettable. Lack of flow, speaking instead of rapping, it was just like grabbing any idol rapper in Japan and throw him into this song. It was bad.
As a whole, Buster Bros!!! presented us with high quality instrumentals, powerful performances for the most part and an overall great entry into the HYPNOSIS MIC franchise.
“Buster Bros!!! Generation” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.