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Japanese Hip Hop – Memphis Style

by:  Jack Bratcher

It just so happens that Keddren Payne has a brother by the name of Quinton Jackson who is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter and used to fight in PRIDE Fighting Championship in Japan. Keddren used to accompany his brother on his trips to compete in PRIDE. Keddren felt such an affinity to Japan he found himself not wanting to leave.

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and his brother are from Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is known for having great Blues music but it is also known for some down and gritty Dirty South Hip Hop.

From left: Ray Rodney Jr., Keddren Payne, Joshua Lawson and Eric Koffi have collaborated to produce “Abare houda,” a hip hop CD in Japanese.

From left: Ray Rodney Jr., Keddren Payne, Joshua Lawson and Eric Koffi have collaborated to produce “Abare houda,” a hip hop CD in Japanese.

Through various twists of fate Keddren met Joshua Lawson, Eric Koffi and Ray Rodney Jr.  All of the gentlemen had an interest in Japanese and in Hip Hop and with Payne’s management and the musical talents of the group, a new type of Hip Hop style was formed: Down-South Hip Hop – in Japanese.

That’s right. All of the men are fluent in Japanese and being from Memphis, Hip Hop is in their blood.

Their new CD entitled, “Abare houda” hits the stores on Oct. 31. “Abare houda” essentially means “get wild, do what you want. It’s Memphis, Southern Hip Hop, but it’s in Japanese. We are not doing it their style. We are doing it our style in Japanese. It’s never been done before.” The release of the CD coincides with a tour in Japan.

This is a story of four African- Americans who see music as a global opportunity and themselves as pioneers.

Incidently, Keddren also trains MMA and the group is interested in performing at MMA events in Japan

(To purchase the CD and get more information, visit: www.cdbaby.com/cd/kokujintensai.)
Here is the group’s first music video:

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