Muro featuring Tina, G.K. Maryan from Kaminari, Boo the new Funk singer/rapper from K.O.D.P., Gore-Tex and S-Word himself, the single “Weekend Funk #7” for Incredible Records magnificently showcased the newcomer’s talent and S-Word’s flow combined with his smoker voice instantly became popular amongst the fans. The road to underground star status was short for S-Word who was invited by the ex - b-boy DJ Watarai to join him and 2 old friends Macka-Chin & Gore-Tex in 1999 to record the classic track “Requiem” which also became the foundation for S-Word’s group NITRO MICROPHONE UNDERGROUND during the same year. Requiem was a huge hit in the underground and its violent urban neighbourhood/kaminari influenced lyricism shocked the japanese scene with hardcore hip-hop settings that you had only heard on a couple of releases before.
During the later half of 1999 S-Word was concentrating mostly on touring with his group and recording for their first CD release “Nitro Works” under reality records that had signed the group and also the group’s mc’s as solo artists for an impressive line-up. As the biggest new name in Japanese hip-hop since legends like Microphone pager and King giddra, the 8 mc’s of nitro started planning on solo careers while also preparing for their debut self titled album to be released in 2000. S-Word following his fellow group mc’s Deli, Gore-Tex, Dabo and Suiken who had already released their own solo singles for high demand also released his solo debut during the year 2000 with “Neophyte One Da Hoo” with productions from friends DJ Watarai & Macka-Chin. On this release as a solo artist S-Word stayed true to his flow with darker futuristic and laid back style beats that also changed his music to more abstract rather than the pure hardcore / street styles heard on the alltime classic album with his group.
Gaining recognition from his original voice and from undoubtedly one of the best flows in the game at that time, S-Word following the highly acclaimed Nitro Tour in 2000 and the early 2001 was ready for his second single release under reality records after the group decided to concentrate on solo careers on the years to come. “Made In Tokyo” produced by DJ Yas from Kaminari Family was released under reality records in the year 2001 continued on the deeper style S-Word had established on his first single and featured the now classic Smokin Bleff as the b-side that is still considered as one of the highlights on S-Words career. From the more abstract main track (Made In Tokyo) to the up tempo funky piano driven b-side smokin bleff, S-Word proved of being capable of creating his own style and flow like his fellow group members before him.
As Hip-Hop in Japan went mainstream with hip-hop veteran labels such as defjam landing to its shores in the year 2000 and after the label already signed Dabo from Nitro Microphone Underground it was time for S-Word to move on from his independent deal with Reality Records for a major deal at Def Jam Japan as the second artist to do so. S-Word’s long-awaited major debut on Def Jam was released in a form of a new single on march of 2002 featuring a whole new style from the artist in forms of flow and productions. “Kross Ova” the name of the new single well described S-Words jump from the streets to one of the most recognized rappers in the game. Keeping the futuristic space style heard on the first 2 singles with his old label S-Words new flow caused confusion amongst the fans but also gained a new fanbase through more catchy hooks heard on the song combined with the new flow that was less aggressive and laid back. The main track also introduced a new side of S-Word since it was more of a dance track but also showed his potential to be the next superstar reaching as high as the 27th position on the japanese version of the billboard charts.
Def Jam teamed up S-Word’s labelmate Dabo with the legendary Def Jam USA rapper LL Cool J to boost the profile of Def Jam Japan and continued the USA - Japan collabos when S-Word announced his second single few months later with the help of another labelmate Christina Milian. The second single for Def Jam “The Answer” featured a beautiful piano melody with very sensual love style lyrics with both of the artists voices working together as one. The collabo was even a bigger success than the first single “Kross Ova” and entered the charts at number 24 position which at the time was very good for a hip-hop release. Shortly after the release of the second single, “One Piece” S-Word’s debut album was finally announced and released a month later in June of 2002.
The Debut album kept S-Word’s style mostly in the futuristic and dark soundscapes before the time of his major label contract excluding few of the albums more commercialised bounce anthems that showcased S-Words new melodic side of rhyming. 4 Minutes Of Yell (Remix) and Extra Negotiation Part. 1 also continued the quality of Nitro Microphone Underground collaborations featuring XBS and Deli showing the amazing chemistry between the group members even outside of the groups releases. Entering the charts as the 7th biggest selling album at the time of release sealed S-Word’s status as the next superstar in Japanese Hip-Hop scene and spawned one of the most succesfull hip-hop solo artists tours in the short history of mainstream hip-hop in Japan.
Riding the success of the first album and the tour that followed, S-Word found time to Release his new single / dvd “Fortune” (the main track produced by Lord Finesse from D.I.T.C. Fame) on December of the same year (2002). The 2 discs of the new release included remixes and video material from the Kross Ova Tour 2002. Gainin fame from his original style and voice, S-Word also established a status as one of the leading fashion figures in hip-hop with his original style that later became known as NitroW a clothing line designed by the members of the group. Always a workaholic S-Word continued keeping himself busy appearing on the Def Jam tribute campaign in 2003 performing the classic Beastie Boys track “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” that was released as the first single for the announced second album to follow during the later half of the year. The cover track though only remained true to the original with the same hook and the beat while S-Word re-wrote the lyrics in japanese performed it in his own original style. The Bonus track of the release “Devil May Kry” gave S-Word’s fans what they had been expecting all along with the dark backing track produced by abstract extra-ordinaire DJ Yas and the help of the dramatic style singing by the Def Jam Japan singer HI-D to create an athmospheric track well fit for S-Words smoker voice and his new flow.
Second single release from the second album “Wrap Muzik” showed a more positive side of S-Word with a message and also departed from the usual style of S-Word’s works by being a relaxing piano track with female back-up vocals while the producing honor was on the hands of Hiroshi Fujiwara. Wrap Muzik came as a surprise for most of the fans but expanded S-Words fanbase on a broader scale bringing him more fans from outside the hip-hop scene as well. The Evolution in S-Word’s presence on the mic after being signed to Def Jam became much more visible on the release of his second album “Star Ill Warz” in july of 2003 and finalised the transition from his old faster flow to a new slower, more laid back and melodic flow.
Star Ill Warz produced by allstar producers Macka-Chin, Muro, Just Blaze & DJ Watarai featured artists such as Double, Hi-D and the whole Nitro Microphone Underground on the opening track of the release. The Sound of the second album in S-Words short but profilic career only brought changes to the stars music with couple of slower paced abstract tracks produced by Macka-Chin and Hiroshi Fujiwara showcasing some singing style rapping that creates a more relaxing twist. On the charts the album did even better than the first and S-Word went on to launch a very successful tour along with the friend from Nitro, XBS to promote the release of both of their albums around the same time.
Since the touring days S-Word re-united with his old friends Nitro Microphone Underground in 2004 to create a new Mini-Album “Uprising” for Acehigh Records that was the groups first major label release. Originally planned as a full album “Uprising” only worked as a showcase of what was to be released on August of 2004 when the group released their follow-up album to the self titled one from 2000 called Straight From The Underground. S-Word as a solo artist has been keepin a break from the scene since the release of the second album but can be heard on a compilation album “Phat Waxx” released earlier this year which throws some of the best electronic musicians in japan against many talented MC’s to create an unique mix.
Edited by MiataGod on 1 Jan 2013, 00:53
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