Buster Bros!!! and MAD TRIGGER CREW proudly represented their divisions on the first release of the “Battle Season” series. Nostalgic beats, funky instrumentals, stunning imagery and gritty lyrics are just some of the greeting cards for what is a flawless release.
“Battle Season” will have all 4 crews facing off in a series in which fans’ votes are important to beat their opponents in order to advance to the next stage for a shot at being named “King“.
Title: Buster Bros!!! VS MAD TRIGGER CREW Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS (King Records) Release date: 16/05/2018 Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop
1 - WAR WAR WAR (Buster Bros!!! VS MAD TRIGGER CREW) 2 - IKEBUKURO WEST GAME PARK (Buster Bros!!!) 3 - Yokohama Walker (MAD TRIGGER CREW) 4 - Drama Track [Know your enemy side B.B VS M.T.C] 5 - Drama Track [Louder than A Bomb]
Track by track analysis:
1 – WAR WAR WAR
The tone for this song is dark and threatening, a recipe that best showcases both crews’ trademark sound and vibe. Trippy synths, a dark piano melody, triplets and a deep, bass-y beat lead the way for the first match-up of the Battle Series. “WAR WAR WAR” pits Buster Bros!!! against MAD TRIGGER CREW, trading rhymes, punchlines, threats and showing their individual, crew and division’s worth. The lyrics show that war is their life, their DNA, be it facing off other in rap battles, gang fights or in crime life. Putting themselves in danger and be victorious is the thrill of the battle for them and this cypher is no exception, both crews want to come on top of the other.
Both crews brought their best to this battle, with everyone improving their rap skills since last year’s releases. Amasaki‘s mocking tone and rapping improved, Ishiya‘s raw delivery returned better than ever, Kimura‘s flow continues to impress, with each rhyme being deadly. On M.T.C‘s side, we find Kamio‘s imposing deep voice continuing to deal a lot of damage between rhymes and punchlines, Komada‘s scornful tone leading the way, with his singing and rapping being off the charts, and Asanuma‘s threatening stance and flowly rap keeps being a great greeting card. “WAR WAR WAR” is the perfect introduction to this CD, a song with the best instrumental and one of the toughest and grooviest performances in the franchise. 5/5
2 – IKEBUKURO WEST GAME PARK
Buster Bros!!! take it to their turf for “IKEBUKURO WEST GAME PARK“, a song that celebrates life in Ikebukuro, Tokyo’s well known division filled with down-to-earth, creative and dynamic neighborhoods. The city is represented through Buster Bros!!!‘s passionate rap about family, neighborhood, crew, skating, basketball, rap and street art. The song kicks off without instrumental, with just the crew delivering a fiery introductory rap. Then, a jazzy beat, funky guitar riffs, saxophone and brass take you on a fun trip to the streets of Ikebukuro. This upbeat old-school rap song even brings beat-box to the table, something that is seldom incorporated in rap music nowadays, its addition brings a raw, genuine touch to the song. When it comes to rapping, all members in Buster Bros!!! were more than up to the task. The biggest surprise was Amasaki, that has improved by heaps and bounds, showcasing a polished flow. A nice touch on this song were the crew chants in the chorus, inviting the listener to join in the fun. Smooth delivery on top of a tasty old-school instrumental. 5/5
3 – Yokohama Walker
MAD TRIGGER CREW take you on the ride to the exciting, classy yet dangerous life in the concrete jungle of Yokohama. “Yokohama Walker” is all about its nostalgic sound. If there’s something that easily stands out and snatches your attention is the instrumental’s focus on melodic elements, especially a funky bass line, blues-y guitar riffs and jazz-y brass hits. Those three instruments bring to life this astounding and rich chill hip-hop / jazz hip-hop tune. In result, the soundscape created by this instrumental is beyond impressive. You’re taken along to enjoy the city lights, those quiet yet busy moments as you explore the city’s streets. Between car chases, crime, neon signs and empty streets, this instrumental will give you plenty imagery to enjoy. In the rap department we have the best performances on this release all in the same place. An interesting thing about the rap performances is that Asanuma, Komada and Kamio were all in the same page. There’s something incredible about their performance, it’s groovy, nostalgic, and insanely leveled between the members, and it draws you in. Their performances were on the same wavelength making the transitions between rapper, seamless and incredibly enjoyable. Kamio still impresses with how much lower his tone can go. His rapping literally reverberates more than the bass line. MAD TRIGGER CREW quietly and stylishly stole the show. 5/5
Hypnosis Mic’s fans couldn’t have asked for a better release to kick off this series. Buster Bros!!! and MAD TRIGGER CREW brought their improved selves for this “Battle Season” CD, proudly representing their divisions through a variety of funky, old-school hip-hop tunes.
“WAR WAR WAR” is the opening track for this release. This cypher has the best instrumental out of all songs released in the Hypnosis Mic franchise. Its trippy vibe and crunchy beat instantly draw the listener in, and its focus on bass-y synths and a reverberating bass line takes this song to memorable territory. When it came to rapping, both crews faced off with fire and passion in each rhyme, bar and punchline. You can feel the rivalry between crews as well as their want to win this match-up.
Each crew showed their colors and influences for their representative songs. Buster Bros!!! caught me by surprise with a change of sound. If you’ve listened to their first release, the crew is known for their aggressive rap on top of powerful beats however, “IKEBUKURO WEST GAME PARK” is nothing alike. This fresh approach, embracing an old-school hip-hop sound with jazz elements, showcases a side to Buster Bros!!! that their fans didn’t know about. At same time that this change of sound surprised me, there were also major improvements in the rap department. Amasaki, member whose rap skills I openly criticized on Buster Bros!!!‘s first release, has now improved a lot, with his rapping sounding fluid and punchy. He’s now on par with Ishiya and catching up to the big bro in the house, the rap expert, Subaru Kimura. The chemistry and teamwork between crew members also stood out. This was the very first time they performed on the same song – without other crew’s members in the mix – and they sounded as if they have always rapped together.
On the other side, MAD TRIGGER CREW delivered a memorable performance. Between the instrumental and rap performance, it’s hard to point out what was the best part in “Yokohama Walker“. Alike Buster Bros!!!‘s “IKEBUKURO WEST GAME PARK“, M.T.C embraced an old-school instrumental with jazz and blues elements, nevertheless with a completely different execution, very characteristical of this crew. M.T.C performed on top of a chill hip-hop / jazz hip-hop tune that managed to create a powerful and rich imagery. This isn’t the first time fans encounter a song like this on their repertoire – “Bayside Smoking Blues” (performed by Wataru Komada) was the first track to do that -, however the choice for a slow paced, introspective beat with blues-y guitar riffs came as surprise. When you take into account that Asanuma tackled gangsta rap and Kamio embraced jungle/reggae rap in M.T.C‘s previous release, it was a bit uncertain how would their crew song actually sound like. It is supposed to be a middle ground for them, a song that summarizes perfectly their crew and division. I felt like this choice for a quieter, simpler instrumental was the best way to showcase the life in Yokohama, instead of polarizing it by incorporating all those sub-genres above-mentioned on this instrumental.
After listening to this battle, I dare say that MAD TRIGGER CREW come slightly on top and quite possibly will advance to the finals. Of course this is a prediction, hence we’ll all have to wait for the final results of the on-going voting to be released to know which crew came on top. Buster Bros!!! and MAD TRIGGER CREW were neck and neck in this match-up. The quality is high in all releases and there’s no shortage of rich instrumentals and groovy rap performances.
Nostalgic beats, funky instrumentals, stunning imagery and gritty lyrics are just some of the greeting cards for what is a flawless release. “Buster Bros!!! VS MAD TRIGGER CREW” is a must listen.
A reminder to those that purchased this release in physical edition: you’ll be able to vote for your favorite crew on this release. Details on it will be on a special “Battle Card” included with this release so, if you’re able, cast your votes to help your favorite crew advance to the final to battle it out with the winner of Fling Posse VS Matenrou.
“Buster Bros!!! VS MAD TRIGGER CREW” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN.