90s rap groups

“Rockstar”: It’s hard to say how many chords this song really has. The way I hear it, it’s a C minor thing in the intro, and then you’re just swimming in a G minor and E♭ fish tank for the rest of the song. So that’s either a modulation from C minor to G minor, or you just start on the iv chord which was quickly dispatched by ninjas — take your pick. Watch how the phrase leading up to the first chorus stretches it to nine bars, rather than your regular eight, and how the outro has an irregular number of bars, too. What’s cool about this is how it obfuscates where the different sections begin or end.

And yes, it’s a masterwork. This isn’t just Japanese new-age hindsight fetishism at play here. Takada’s brilliant suite for marimbas and synthesizer brings Asian timbres and African polyrhythms in perfect contact with the minimalist language of composers like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Brian Eno. The fact that this record never made it out of Japan was a cultural crime that needed to be rectified.

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