Rappers Rinne, Kubota Kai, and Anatsume Featured in Billboard Japan and TikTok’s “Next Fire” December Issue

The December edition of the Billboard Japan and TikTok hybrid program next fire featured a new roster of artists from Rooftop, including Anatsume, Kubota Kai, and award-winning rapper Rinne.

next fire is a show on TikTok Live that highlights rising J-pop artists of the moment, based on Billboard Japan’s TikTok Weekly Top 20 chart. The collaborative project streams live performances and pre-recorded interviews of the featured actor of the month to give fans an in-depth look at their artistry.

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Rising rapper Anatsume was the first to appear in the studio decorated with a Christmas tree and lights for December’s mini-festival. He kicked off his three-song set with “Stay True,” a song whose lyrics address the theme of determination expressed through the young rapper’s soft voice over airy sound. Next, he brought in a special guest, vocalist Ai from all-female group Haku, for a performance of the collaborative track “Aoi tobari” which features the group. “This song is about a precious moment in your life and youth,” Anatsume said before the male and female voices described a melancholy and sentimental scene that touched viewers’ hearts.

The 19-year-old artist closed his showcase with “Tokyo no Fuyu” (Winter in Tokyo), a song based on the romantic reality show ABEMA in which he appeared titled Koisuru Weekend Homestay 2020 Winter Tokyo. “The next one will be my last song,” he said introducing the number. “It’s a very precious song for me because it allowed me to meet a lot of people. I wrote it for the person I was in love with when I was in high school. The warm, genuine lyrics and feel-good groove got the audience moving naturally.



Next was Kubota Kai, who took over the stage and immediately launched into the rhythmic and funky “Midnight Dancing”. The young artist thrilled the audience with his fast rapping over the powerful groove of his guitar and keyboards, while drawing them in with his boisterous stage presence. Kubota – his name is stylized in Japanese order, family name first – then slowed things down a bit with a performance of “Seikatsu”, accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar. As the title suggests, the lyrics depict the minutiae of everyday life on a smooth track. Kubota ended his set with his hit song “Piasu” (Pierced Earrings) which charted in TikTok’s weekly Top 20 for four consecutive weeks. Many viewers seemed familiar with this song which showcases Kubota’s versatile vocal techniques, and the speed of comments sent visibly increased during the performance.

Kubota Kai

Kubota Kai

Last but not least on the list was rapper Rinne, who kicked off his set with “Heaven Town.” The 2020 Japan Record Awards New Artist winner followed up with “Blue Diary,” performing two songs from his latest album. cloud back to back. The melodious chorus exuding emotion in its stillness left a lasting impression.

The 24-year-old then took a moment to introduce himself and his supporting DJ, ShunMaruno, and addressed the audience while watching the livestream. “I first discovered the amazing culture of hip-hop and rap through my cell phone, much like today’s TikTok. I’m sure you’ll find your own thing through such means too. someday,” he said. “My buddies from the same agency are here today. We made history together and I can’t wait to play with them tonight.

Rinne first invited Kubota Kai back into the studio. “‘Kubokai’ and I have been friends for a long time,” he shared of his label mate. “Ever since we first met in a freestyle rap battle, the timing of everything we do has been the same, like our first gigs and such.” The two rappers performed “Haru ni furarete” (Dumped in Spring), a collaborative track released last year with catchy rap lines that highlight the differences in their styles and a chorus that displays the chemistry in their voices.

Then Rinne brought back Anatsume for a performance of “raspberry,” also a collaboration from last year. The bright and joyful rhythm of brass and other instruments filled the studio with a cheerful mood.

Before the next song, Rinne once again paused to encourage the fans. “Four or five years ago it was me chasing, but now I have a junior colleague like Anatsume and a friend like Kubokai. My old dreams are coming true little by little,” he said. But what led me to my current position was just a small opportunity that lay right at my feet. So if you’re a younger person watching TikTok now, or someone my age, or even someone older, I think it would be a waste to give up on your dreams too soon. The reason I say this is that many of my own dreams have come true, partly by chance and partly by coincidence. Like recently, I was asked to write a theme song for a drama TV series. It’s a dream come true thanks to everyone’s support. I was so moved when I was offered the opportunity.

He then performed the theme he wrote for the NTV drama series Sister, entitled “qualia”. The lyrics, which he said made it a bit easier to listen to while still retaining the emotional weight of the suspenseful drama depicting a messy love triangle, were delivered on a melodious track.

The last number of the night was Rinne’s biggest hit to date, “snow jam” of 2020. will become wonderful for all of you,” he said before performing the smash hit, which struck a chord with students at the start of the pandemic. Viewers shared their excitement upon hearing the live version of the perfect number. for the winter, with a relaxing vibe that makes you want to get lost in the laid-back sound flow.

A pre-recorded interview with Rinne, Kubota Kai, and Anatsume will air on Billboard Japan’s TikTok channel (https://www.tiktok.com/@billboard_japan). Snippets of the December 9 livestream can be seen on each artist’s TikTok account.

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