IO of KANDYTOWN (Photo credit: CDJournal)

Leading the charge in a new wave of Japanese hip hop is a 16 man crew from Setagaya, Tokyo known as KANDYTOWN, which consists of MCs, DJs and producers. Since the release of their first free mixtape KOLD TAPE the crew has been building a steady following. Having been featured on brands like Carhatt WIP and Reebok, their music is gaining wider visibility among hip hop heads in Japan.

The first official album off their roster is MC IO’s Soul Long. Word on the street is that it’s being hailed as the Japanese Illmatic for its jazzy and soulful 90s East Coast hip hop vibes.

Blessed with productions by two of Japan’s well respected DJ/producers the King of Diggin’ himself MURO and DJ Watarai on tracks Soul Long ft. Boo and So respectively. The album captures the neon Neo-Tokyo feels perfectly with choice samples and IO’s smooth laid-back flow. A personal favourite is City Never Sleeps. Check out the album below.

Soul Long is available for purchase at Amazon and digitally on iTunes

Follow IO on Instagram and KANDYTOWN on Instagram / Twitter