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Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
Business Spectacle: Lily's Hair Studio (video)
October 26, 2023

Japanese rap motivates me beyond language barriers

Despite the language barrier, one of The Sidekick staff writer Elizabeth De Santiago’s favorite genres of music is Japanese rap. The genre has helped De Santiago become more confident in herself and who she is. Photo Illustration by Aasritha Yanamala (Kavya Lokhande)

I stare at the blinking cursor on my screen for what feels like hours. I start looking around everywhere but my screen. I have never noticed the texture of that wall before, I have never felt how comfy this chair was before — stop!

It is distractions like these that keep me up past my bedtime. I decide I need something to help me focus. I turn on some music, but within minutes, I am hyper analyzing every lyric, every rhyme, every little hidden metaphor that I can find — stop! 

The cursor continues to tease me, I take my AirPods out of my ears. 

I give myself a break, though I have not really done anything to warrant one. I scroll through YouTube, clickbait title after clickbait title, until something catches my eye, “j-rap that goes HARD.” 

I am a little skeptical, but I put my AirPods back in and I get back to work.

The first song plays, and instantly I am hooked. For me, music is not always about the lyrics and meaning, but the feeling I get from listening to a song. I may not be able to understand Japanese, but the energy I get from listening to Japanese rap is unmatched. 

From that one playlist, my love for j-rap grew. I dove more into the culture and became interested in artists such as Awich, Takayan, WILYWNKA and JP THE WAVY. These artists all make music I love, because of their beats and the flow they have in their raps. The culture is still relatively new, but it’s rapidly growing. 

The samples used in j-rap often have a more synthy edge, comparable to hyperpop. Sometimes incorporating traditional Japanese drums, j-rap is a harmonious blend between western rap and traditional Japanese music. This versatility is one of the reasons the genre has such an appeal for me.

J-rap also stands out for its strong representation of female rappers. Artists such as Awich, Chanmina, CYBER RUI and NENE have made a huge impact on the culture of j-rap, showing that women have a place in the genre.

Not only has j-rap had an influence on my music taste, but it has also influenced the clothes I wear and has made me a more confident person. When I first got into j-rap, the fashion and visuals drew me further into the genre. Graphic tees, baggy pants, cartoony accessories and fast cars really encompass the j-rap aesthetic. As I watched more music videos, I began to change my personal style as well. 

It has been about a year since the moment I first discovered j-rap, and since then I have made a six hour long playlist that I continue to add songs to to this day. I listen to j-rap to workout, to study and to walk to class. It motivates me in a way no other music genre does. 

I know that on the days I feel demotivated, I have j-rap to pump me up. Sometimes it’s not the lyrics that matter, but the emotion that music can hold, even through language barriers.

Follow @CHSCampusNews and @LizzieDeSanti_ on X.

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About the Contributors
Elizabeth De Santiago
Elizabeth De Santiago, Staff Writer
Elizabeth De Santiago is a sophomore and first year staff writer. Outside of The Sidekick she likes to play the piano, listen to obscure music genres, and draw. She joined The Sidekick because she enjoyed writing short stories from a young age and admired the environment of the staff. She is a big fan of the Premier League and a fan of Manchester City. Elizabeth has two french bulldogs. Frye and Boo, who are 3 and 1 years old. She is typically found listening to Twenty One Pilots, Mitski, Pierce the Veil, Trippie Redd, Awich, Underscores and Joji. She likes to research and study fashion from Japan and France. Elizabeth would like to be a dermatologist or radiologist in the future. She has lived in Coppell her whole life and plans to stay in the Dallas area when She is older. Her favorite food is Calzones and her favorite place to eat is Chili’s. Elizabeth likes to shop at Forever 21, Hot Topic, Spencers, Boxlunch and Temu. Her usual Starbucks order is an iced chai tea latte with soy milk. She enjoys watching Boondocks, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mean Girls. Elizabeth’s favorite place she’s traveled to is Disney World and dreams of traveling to Japan and Bora Bora. She is taking Chinese II and graphic design I. She has one younger brother named Matthew who is in 6th grade at Coppell Middle School North. Elizabeth attended Town Center Elementary School and Coppell Middle School North. You can contact her by email at [email protected].com.
Kavya Lokhande
Kavya Lokhande, Staff Designer

Kavya Lokhande is a junior and staff designer for The Sidekick. She's originally from New York and moved to Texas her freshman year of high school. Kavya loves all things horror, including movies like Bride of Chucky or Orphan. She also spends time with her family and has a passion for cooking. She loves experimenting in the kitchen and improving her cooking skills. When she’s not creating delicious treats or indulging in a horror book, Kavya dreams of traveling the world, exploring new cultures, trying diverse cuisines and sometimes changing up her hair to a new look. In her free time, Kavya enjoys thrifting, sketching and going on bike rides. Kavya is always seeking new thrills, experiences, and embracing her passions! To contact her, email her at [email protected].

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    Lisa HamiltonMay 19, 2024 at 8:30 am

    I had to take a listen after reading your article, very well written by the way!
    You are right. J-rap is catchy and a good alternative for house cleaning music for me now. Thanks for the introduction Elizabeth!