In this interview, Japanese rap sensation Tohji proves to be an enigmatic figure, offering elusive insights into his artistic journey and the preparation for the release of his new mixtape: Mall Tape 2. Despite being armed with questions prepared by METAL, at the request of his own publicist, meaningful revelations remain elusive.
Tohji, a trailblazer in Japanese rap, describes his musical evolution as becoming “more natural, Mineral Water Vibes.” The anticipation surrounding his recently released mixtape, Mall Tape 2, was met with cryptic responses, leaving us intrigued about the creative process. Collaborations with artists like Mura Masa and Bladee were said to have influenced Tohji's music, though the exact impact remains unclear. Visual storytelling in his music videos was deemed important, yet Tohji's analogy of water going down the drain left us questioning his intended message.
Details about his previous mixtape, T-Mix, were sparse, with Tohji simply mentioning “coca coke boys” without further explanation – in lieu of a meaningful response. His appetite for genres like trance, J-pop, and eurodance beckons us to explore the origins of his musical proclivities. Drawing upon a deep well of familiarity and tradition, he deftly intertwines these influences, resulting in a soundscape that evoked his own memories of arcade halls and the mesmerising glow of the television screen.
Tohji's lyrics often touch on suburban culture and his upbringing in Tokyo. Specific aspects that resonate with him, such as a shop playing Drake in a mall atrium during a sunset, remained enigmatic. His collective, Mall Boyz, and their creative contribution were cryptically compared to riding a bike on a hot day towards a distant skating rink. Tohji's music has resonated globally, yet his aspirations and connection with fans beyond music were left unexplored. His secret raves and hotel parties in Tokyo were mentioned, but insights into the vision and experiences were absent.
Ultimately, Tohji's legacy and the message he hopes listeners will take away from Mall Tape 2 remained undefined. But we anticipate a captivating blend of his enigmatic aura and musical prowess.