Black music and anime have a visual and auditory cultural exchange that is bound together by nostalgia, rhythm, and animated modern mythology. Anime and Black music producers have reinvented and rebuilt pop cultural imagery to add new layers to their respective histories, whether it is through name-dropping anime in songs, showing a rapping samurai on screen, or having cosplayers dress up in music videos. It's an ongoing network of partnerships that will only expand.
For instance, Yasuke, a six-episode anime series with designs by director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine), was developed by the Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen).
Yasuke's lonesome journey as a stoic warrior with a troubled history and an unknown future is given color by Flying Lotus' music, which features his muted electronic and brief bursts of ambient hip-hop. The connection between FlyLo and anime is an ideal illustration of how tightly the two mediums have come together.
Hip Hop x Anime
Both the 2015 album Tetsuo & Youth by Lupe Fiasco and the 2007 music video for Kanye West's song "Stronger" included clips from the anime movie Akira paying homage to the themes relayed in the film. Additionally, not only has Lil Uzi Vert released a song named Sasuke from the Naruto series in 2020, but the animation in the music video for "Ps & Qs" is also heavily influenced by anime. Megan Thee Stallion, who periodically uploads anime related posts on her Instagram, makes reference to Sasuke in her 2020 song, "Girls in the Hood." In fact, she dressed up as Shoto Todoroki from My Hero Academia for one of her early magazine covers.
“I really like the storylines about it, like how you grow with the character, You see all the trials and tribulations they gotta go through, and you meet new people along the line that’s really helping them become the hero that he’s meant to be. So I feel like I apply that to my life a lot.” - Megan Thee Stallion (2020 Crunchyroll)
Yasuke, the unspoken greatest ronin ever, struggles in a mech- and magic-filled, war-torn feudal Japan to preserve a peaceful existence after a prior life of carnage. However, Yasuke is reluctantly compelled to pick up his sword once again and depart with a mysterious child who is the target of evil powers and vicious warlords. When a neighboring town becomes the focal point of societal turmoil between competing daimyo. Yasuke, the first African samurai who genuinely served the legendary Oda Nobunaga, will become known to the world. LaKeith Stanfield, a Grammy Award nominee and executive producer, provides the voice of Yasuke, the first African Samurai. Music produced by Flying Lotus.
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