BIGGA RAIJI is a Japanese reggae artist. He released a mini album in 2004 called “Ikiyouyou” and a follow up in 2007 with “Appare”. He’s collaborated with a number of Japanese Hip-Hop, RnB and Reggae artists such as Maki Goto, RYO the SKYWALKER and Tiny & Bigga.
How I discovered BIGGA RAIJI
Maki Goto featured BIGGA RAIJI on her “Sweet Black” track “Queen Bee”. To me, he will forever be known as the man who got stuck in her car in the video. Not only was BIGGA RAIJI’s appearance slightly unusual for the Japanese music industry, but his rapping is fantastic.
Why you should listen
J-Urban isn’t the easiest genre to get into, yet BIGGA RAIJI’s album “Appare” is a fantastic work. From the pacey “Onaka no uta”, hanging off the phrase “Big Belly Man, I’m a big belly man”, and “Rock On”, it’s balanced perfectly by tracks like “Omou ga mama”. Also, “Queen Bee” is probably my favorite post-Hello! Project Maki Goto track.
As an artist, BIGGA RAIJI doesn’t take himself too seriously, with a major selling point being his unusually large size and appetite. This adds to the chilled out feeling in a lot of his tracks, even if the joke does gets old.
Onaka no Uta
After almost 2 years of tempting us with her Avex career relaunch, Maki Goto is finally going to release her debut mini-album on the 28th of July, titled “One“. We’ve seen her start a blog, train in LA, release a number of digital singles and eventually a mini-album under the SWEET BLACK name and start the year with the sudden death of her mother – it by no means has been an easy journey to get to this point.
So with her latest album impending, how will this all work out for Maki? A return to J-Pop we’ve been told – which I didn’t belive when I heard it. Maki sits so well with RnB (especially considering those almost naked magazine pictures which have been splashed all over the internet – some say classy, personally I say skank). Her voice also was very different from the 2 queens of RnB in Japan in that it’s quite sweet and not as deep. However, from listening to the singles, Maki seems to be trying to make her own kind of music, rather than mussel in on disputed territory – a much more original way to go!
The other surprise is that Piccolo Town, one of UFAs labels is going to be releasing a “greatest hits” compilation of Maki’s work from 2001-2007 on August 25th. Along with Mini Moni, W, Miki Fujimoto and Coconuts Musume, Maki was one of the inactive artists who missed out on a Hello! Project compilation album at the end of 2008, despite being one of their most influential and famous acts, and there’s been constant speculation over whether her old songs will be used at concerts or not. The new CD’s blub also gives promotion to her new album which is obviously under AVEX’s label Rythm Zone. But being realistic, this is mostly business however, with UFA and Avex cautiously scratching each others backs to make a bit more cash.
It makes me think that all this animosity is mostly stirred up and never actually exists between former artists and UFA (with the exception of Ai Kago) – this is business after all. Maki has spoken multiple times on her radio show about her past as a Morning Musume member, which is undoubtedly a major contributing factor to her fame. She also sent a bouquet of flowers to the Elder’s graduation concert last year which was publicly displayed. Okay, the timing was dodgy that she left soon after her brother’s arrest, after being alleged to have an affair with one of his accomplices, but at the same time, I think H!P would never have been able to push her career in the way she wanted it to go. Her back catalogue was becoming pretty unsuitable for transferring amongst the members, in that I think even H!P would maybe have some reservations about letting Frances & Aiko perform a rendition and dance routine of “SOME BOYS! TOUCH” (have you all got that horrible image in your heads now?).
But on to the music, the major factor which most of us (hopefully) will be judging Maki on. “Eyes” is the second preview from the album which has been released and has re-enforced that Maki will be returning to pop (which I’m surprised at). Musically it reminds me of early Hello! Project songs, but vocally Maki’s developed a beautifully deep edge to her voice. The first preview released before this was “Houseki“, another dance number demonstrating Maki’s clear vocals.
I’m looking forward to the release of this mini-album now, even if it’s only 5 tracks long. Hopefully Maki may be the first former H!P member to have “graduated” and had some kind of musical success.
- Ienai Kedo
- Hana Uta -hanauta-
And here’s the preview of “Eyes” – the toilet scenes remind me a bit of “The Peace“
I’ve been holding off for a while now, and did have good intentions of putting in a very large CD order with one of my favourite online stores after Christmas, but e-bay has got the better of me.
You see, being a Geography graduate, I’m very into recycling – okay, that’s a lie – I love buying second-hand Japanese CDs as they’re dirt cheap compared to the originals! What more, lovely e-bay sellers seem to take much better care of their CDs than I do, and I’ve received many still with their OBI, no cracks in the case, and even had a few sealed limited edition.
So, for less than half the price (and with much faster, cheaper shipping in some cases – although I did receive one CD in a white paper bag), I have filled out a large amount of my Hello! Project back catalogue:
- Aya Matsuura – First Kiss
- Aya Matsuura – T.W.O.
- Maki Goto – Making Gold
- Maki Goto – Paint it Gold
- Morning Musume – No.5
- Morning Musume – Ai no Dai 6 Kan
- And more on the way…
Then, the DVD buying started… well it beats watching it in poor youtube quality or going back to watch your favourite clip to find it’s been pulled:
- Hello! Project Winter 2002
- Hello! Project Winter 2003
- Hello! Project Winter 2004
- Hello! Project Winter 2005
- Morning Musume – Rainbow 7 Tour
You can probably see a pattern emerging, but I’ve been more or less buying up what I can – my rule is, if it’s under £10 then it’s a bargain! I’ve even been able to get hold of a couple of nifty photo cards and limited edition CDs.
(Please excuse the terrible quality of the pictures, I still haven’t quite worked out how to use my camera)
Anywho, maybe I’ll one day work out how to make stills from DVDs without a big fuss, but it is among my plans to post about the concerts.
It’s also nice, as my Morning Musume CD collection is now only missing 3 of the 9 original albums (and I even have the 7.5 mini in the post already). I’m also quite pleased I’ve got my hands on some Ayaya and Gomaki albums – as they’re 2 of my favourite former H!P vocalists.
And as I’m, well, I wouldn’t go as far as a nice person, but more an encouraging fan, here’s the wonderful shop that’s supplied me with a lot of this H!P stuff. How long before I have to delete my e-bay account to stop myself from buying stuff?
A new mini-album from former Morning Musume member Maki Goto, proving there is life after the Hello! Project!
Queen Bee with BIGGA RAIJI
TEAR DROPS with KG
Mine with KEN the 390
I was writing up my Berserk review last night but became slightly distracted by the fabric for my minamicon cosplay, so I’ll hoepfully finish that in the next few days so it’s in a semi-readable condition at least.
More importantly, I spotted last week that a large number of H!P artists have finally been added to iTunes UK. The list includes:
- Morning Musume
- Berryz Koubou (Up to Dschinghis Khan)
- C-ute (listed as Cute)
- Maki Goto
- Natsume Abi
- Aya Matsuura (name is in Kana, try searching for her songs in Romaji)
- Koharu Kusumi (PaPancake single)
- Kirarin Revolution Song Selection 4 Album
- MilkyWay (TAN!TAN!TAN! single only)
- Buono! (Gachinko de Ikou! single only)