In a Vogue.com interview today, the Okinwan rapper Akiko Urasaki explains how hip-hop makes sense on a small island 400 miles south of Japan. “Tupac was my textbook," she says. "I was obsessed with their struggle, and I think, I saw a similarity in the Okinawan people,” who've had to deal with U.S. military bases from WWII covering 20 percent of their island and centuries-long cultural struggles against Japan, which annexed Okinawa in the late 1800s.
Her music's cool, but the biggest revelation of the story, for me, was this video she shared from her fellow Okinawan RITTO. Between a beat like scrambled traffic sounds, RITTO's save-the-bangs buzz cut, the baseball bat-wielding goober getting hit in the face with a soccer ball, and a subtropical setting I'm now dead-set on visiting in person, "18.104.22.168." is probably the most playful rap video I've seen all year. The Mi far Yu EP promised at the clip's end hasn't hit American iTunes yet, but the single's available now.