Meet Japanese Production Duo DFT and Their Film Full of Sword Fighting Yakuza

Yakuza out for blood, gun and sword fights galore and two Japanese girls lip-synching flows straight out of Atlanta, laid over some serious beats. These are the key elements of Story To Tell, a short film that’s a wild cross-cultural cocktail concocted by Mimi and Vivi, the duo of Japanese beatsmiths that goes by the name of DFT: Don’t F**king Touch.

DFT

Vivi explains how they met each other in English school, where they formed a lifelong friendship. “We got to talk about a lot of things, like how to kiss a boyfriend actually. At that time, we never thought we would make music together in the future.” They further bonded over their shared love for hip hop once they got introduced to the genre. “Suddenly one day, cable TV has come to our house and MTV was there. When we turned it on, we were so into it.” At that time, Vivi was a club singer and Mimi was a DJ as a teenager, so they were already actively engaged with music. “Hip hop has always been beside us since then.”

They live in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward–widely considered to be the fashion hub of Japan, which according to them is currently also enjoying a huge battle rap boom in its streets. “We also have 3, or 4 big MC battle tournaments in the nightclubs once a year. A lot of young people join these freestyle battle cyphers, and there are so many TV commercials using rap.”
With rap being so prevalent in the streets, the DFT women have a keen ear turned towards them: “We’d love to dig stars from the street and produce them, which means a lot to Japanese hip hop culture.”

vivi

For their EP Story To Tell though, its four tracks featuring vocals were delivered by rappers from a different country, as DFT decided to collaborate with the relatively unknown American rappers K19 and Reno Rich. “We’ve always been searching for rappers who are skillful and have an amazing voice. We had a strong image about vocal bandwidth and characteristics that we wanted to put on our beats, and it was really difficult to find out in Japan.”

Poking around on the web, they came across a page where K19 and Reno were posting samples of their work. “We just felt like ‘This is it! We’ve got to collab with them!'”

mimi

“Nowadays, almost every artist and beat maker makes music by using the internet, we can collaborate even if we are apart,” Vivi explains. “We told them what we wanted them to rap on our beats and we got to talking and making our music through email and Skype.” But the duo wasn’t content by collaborating solely through the internet. “We were dying to go to Atlanta to meet them in person, and to make a recording there. We wanted to feel Atlanta.”

The result is an EP where the trap beats of Atlanta are run through the filter of Japanese music culture, to take that back to Georgia and have things come full circle there. The amalgamation is completed by the short film that accompanies it. Built around their music, it’s as much a product made possible by modern media and a global culture, as it is one that incorporates specific local cultures.

Hip hop knows no borders. And that’s a heck of a Story To Tell.

STT

Related Posts

News
News

UFO Over Japan Baffles Thousands, Leaves Scientists Guessing

News
News

This 7-Year-Old Japanese Girl Is A Better Skater Than You

Music
Music

The Weird-Ass World of Japanese Record Stores

Art
Art

Double Tap: @DirtyRobot (DirtyRobot)

Knowledge
Knowledge

Obama Calls for End to Nuclear Weapons During Historic Hiroshima Visit

Ad

Latest News

nas-rapture Film

PREPARE FOR ‘RAPTURE’

Mass Appeal’s new Netflix series premieres this weekend at SXSW
same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."
Video

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over