Hip Hop USA Sneaker Battle At Kinokuniya

Hey everyone, I just wanted to take a look back at an event Samurai Beat Radio took part in, which was the Hip Hop USA Sneaker Battle at Kinokuniya Bookstore on February 12. That day was a lot of fun and a HUGE amount of people came. Hip Hop USA presented a sneaker art workshop and a wide variety of people signed up to draw on sneakers.

Hip-Hop USA representative, Terry Nelson, was the host of the workshop and he brought some wonderful guests, including legendary graffiti artist, James Top. It was pretty exciting to see a whole group of people draw on sneakers to win some good prizes. Seeing kids at Cafe Zaiya draw sneakers on the tables was something to see. The artwork was incredible. I’m amazed at what participants were able to come up with. Although I’m not an artist myself, I can tell what is good and what isn’t.

SBR did a panel on hip-hop in Japan to coincide with the sneaker battle and it was a lot of fun. We had our colleague, May Young of Asian Culture Goes Pop, and a radio DJ who covered hip-hop in Japan, DJ Naomi. James Top & the Rock Steady Crew joined in as well. The Rock Steady Crew talked about meeting female ninjas back in 1983 when they toured Japan, which was hilarious. One funny part was when I had a list of anime references in American hip-hop songs and I read a majority of them. Overall, DJ Naomi was a great guest and she knew a lot of what was going on in Japan.

6 winners were announced that day and they won some good stuff, from graffiti artbooks to anime DVDs. The event was a huge success. A lot of people were interested in drawing on sneakers and there was a nice diverse crowd of people watch the merge of Japanese pop culture and hip-hop. I’m looking forward to see what happens and I believe we only scratched the surface of hip-hop influence in Japan. Thank you to Hip Hop USA & PJ Pop for inviting us and organizing the event!

– Tony

All photos were taken by Tony Yao.


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