‘Under The Building’ is the latest visual drop from Japanese rap collective Normcore Boyz.
‘Under The Building’ is probably the easiest way to be introduced to Normcore Boyz because sonically it’s not too foreign from what people know. Normcore Boyz are probably someone you haven’t heard of yet unless you are into very niche music, or like for me, YouTube suggested throws in a curveball. They are a collective that has been releasing music since 2018 and draw from a number of musical influences. The most easily recognisable to a Western audience being Trap. They can vary from very lighthearted bordering comic tracks to more serious Rap tracks like this one.
‘Under The Building’ is taken off their debut album MEDIAGE. Now Japan might not be a country you would expect to go to for Rap but hopefully, these guys can change your mind. As mentioned the Trap influence can be felt all over this one. The production is very Travis Scott like but it skips the twist so often included in Travis songs. As such it is one of the easiest Japanese Rap tracks to listen to as the only thing you have to get used to is hearing another language and the flows that come with that.
The group is made up of 5 members and on ‘Under The Building’ they display the variety in their styles. It is the variation which makes them so interesting, it’s the benefit that comes from having groups with that many members. The more members, the more sounds and styles that can be incorporated and therefore fans to be catered to. Of course, that means they have to have a serious level of cohesion otherwise tracks would sound messy and just wouldn’t work. So if you can get past the language barrier, which we all can because Reggaeton and Afrobeats have both charted even whilst being in other languages, Normcore Boyz will have something for you.
For me, my favourite verse is the second one. It’s delivered with such a laid back approach and swagger that it’s difficult not to like it. Sonically it’s just very easy on the ear and contrasts the production well. But all of the verses are solid and even though I can’t claim to know what they’re saying the conviction they delivered with makes me feel like there was some strong lyricism going on at points.
The visuals on ‘Under The Building’ really shine, and that’s something that can be said of all of the Japanese Rap videos that I’ve seen so far. Ken Haraki seems to be Normcore Boyz go to director and it’s clear to see why. Creatively the visuals are levels above anything UK and most US videos at the moment, and they have a very polished look too. The videos create their own narrative and the cinematography at work to convey it is top tier. I would be interested to know how much budget goes into the videos because it is extremely high quality work.
The Japanese scene is clearly one with some very special and interesting talent in it, so stay tuned here at GUAP to see more content from international acts.
You can stream ‘Under The Building’ and MEDIAGE here.