When G Yamazawa released his first album, “Shouts to Durham,” in early May of this year, a familiar voice of the performance poetry and a fresh voice in rap presented an album full with bold social commentary and energizing beats. The musical and poetic merit of the Southern, Japanese American rapper is the most notable aspect of the album, but the Asian American representation provided by G Yamazawa’s album debut into the rap scene is equally as important.
Asian American participation in various rap communities isn’t new. However, the inherence of politics within rap coupled with relatively inactive Asian American communities has often repelled Asian American voices from engaging frequently with the musical genre.
G Yamazawa both subverts the stereotypical, exclusive image of America and embodies a truer iteration of it: diverse, genuine, complex. Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, G Yamazawa – George Yamazawa – is known for his participation in the performance poetry community with his vivid retellings of his struggles growing up in an America whose conversations of race excluded Asian American identities.
His newest album touches on similar themes as his performance poetry, providing layers upon layers of social, cultural, and political commentary in every verse and line.
Check out the music video from this track from "Shouts to Durham," titled "North Cack (feat. Joshua Gunn, Kane Smego)," here.