In the international hip-hop scene, it’s not every day that we encounter a debut single as rich, genre-defying, and sonically resonant as “Gan Gan.” This trailblazing track serves as the introduction to the artistic journey of Japanese rapper Lion Arkroyal, a dynamic force poised to transcend geographical borders, musical genres, and time periods. Hailing from the UK but shaped by the vibrant hip-hop culture of Nagoya, Japan, Lion Arkroyal is a testament to the universality of music, and “Gan Gan” is the portal through which he invites us into his world.
Lion Arkroyal’s musical DNA, deeply ingrained in the illustrious 1990s New York hip-hop tradition and the resounding echoes of the Boom Bap era, provides a strong foundation for the sonic landscape of “Gan Gan.” The essence of New York’s hip-hop greats can be felt pulsating through this debut single, yet Lion Arkroyal manages to transcend the constraints of mere homage, emerging as a distinctive voice in the contemporary hip-hop spectrum.
One of the pillars that supports “Gan Gan’s” grandeur is the remarkable production by none other than The Love Theme, also known as Dominic Owen. A name synonymous with hip-hop royalty, having worked with luminaries such as The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Rakim, and Lil Kim, Dominic Owen brings an unparalleled level of expertise to the project. His meticulous craftsmanship elevates the single to a level of sonic sophistication that’s rarely encountered in contemporary music.
The instant you press play on “Gan Gan,” you’re enveloped in a sonic world that feels lush and cinematic. Dominic Owen’s production is nothing short of awe-inspiring, as he masterfully weaves together elements that paint a vivid auditory tapestry. Thumping drums provide the backbone, sweeping strings inject an orchestral grandeur, and skittering scratches add an element of nostalgia, paying homage to the turntablist culture that defined the golden age of hip-hop.
However, it’s Lion Arkroyal’s lyrical prowess and gritty vocal tones that truly steal the spotlight. His delivery is unwavering and exudes confidence, a testament to his well-honed craft as an MC. While his lyrics may be in Japanese, there’s an undeniable universality to his flow and vocal delivery that transcends language barriers, allowing the listener to connect on a visceral level. This is where the beauty of “Gan Gan” truly shines; it showcases the unifying power of music, proving that a powerful hip-hop track can speak to the hearts of audiences worldwide, regardless of the language spoken.
In a world where genres and cultures constantly collide and intermingle, Lion Arkroyal’s “Gan Gan” stands as a monumental milestone in the contemporary music landscape. It embodies the essence of classic hip-hop while forging a path toward an exciting and inclusive future. The forthcoming album produced by Dominic Owen, scheduled for an early 2024 release on the Smokersblend label, promises to be a highly anticipated event in the hip-hop world, and “Gan Gan” is the electrifying overture that sets the stage for what’s to come.
In conclusion, “Gan Gan” is a triumphant convergence of talent, culture, and era, where Lion Arkroyal and The Love Theme shine as beacons of innovation within the hip-hop realm. This single is more than a song; it’s a testament to the power of music to transcend borders and communicate on a profound level, making it an essential addition to any hip-hop enthusiast’s playlist. As the world eagerly awaits the full album, we can rest assured that the future of hip-hop, thanks to Lion Arkroyal and The Love Theme, is in exceedingly capable hands.
10 questions with Lion Arkroyal:
- Where are you from and where do you live ?
I was born In London, England. I now live in Nagoya, Japan.
- What first introduced you to Hip Hop and when did you start rapping ?
I always used to listen Hip Hop but didn’t think about being a Rapper. It started with the Virus situation and the lockdowns worldwide, and my best friend becoming depressed. I was writing lyrics for him and he enjoyed it. He slowly became better and it made me realize the effect words and music can have on people. It was around the same time I met the rapper “RYKEY DADDY DIRTY” in Tokyo. He encouraged me to follow my passion and told me “Do your best in everything whatever you do.” After that I met RYKEY”s producer GATTEM G JONES and starting recording my first songs.
- Tell us about your project.
“Gan Gan” is my debut single and video featuring “The Love Theme” Aka Producer Dominic Owen (Biggie Smalls / Lil Kim / Rakim / Jay-Z). It’s the first single from my debut album that’s coming in 2024.
- How did you make the connection with Dominic?
I had heard about Dominic and his music through my father “Richio Suzuki” a UK based Dj and promoter. He knew from my father that I had stared a career as a rapper and we both met at a New Year’s Eve party in London 2022. We were in the studio the following week and made the “Gan Gan” single and half of my debut album. I’ve learned a lot of things from Dominic, he is a great teacher, producer and friend, who I respect.
- What made him want to work with you?
I think he saw my motivation and how much I wanted to make this happen. He said he wanted also to work in the Japanese Hip Hop scene, which was something he had never done.
- How do you write lyrics and what inspires you
I’m inspired by the things around me, my friends, my family and my life. Sometimes I listen to the beats and write in the studio and a lot of times I just come up with ideas when I’m walking or training at the Gym and put them into my phone. Then I record these ideas to beats and try out different melodies to see what works best.
- Who are your favorite top 10 rappers?
It’s always hard to make a top 10 when there are so many good artists, but if I had to pick my all-time best it would be, Biggie Smalls, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre, Easy-E, 2Pac, Big Pun, & Nas.
- Which Japanese rappers do you like?
RYKEY DADDY DIRTY, Bushi, z56jack, MC Kan, MACCHO, Zorn.
- What is it about the Japanese culture you like?
I like the food, we have a lot of unique flavors and tastes and I’m a big Sushi fan. But for me the most interesting culture is the Samurai, their history and way of life is truly something special. One day I would like to own and display in my home the “Katana Sword” the most beautiful weapon in the world.
- What do you want to achieve with your career?
I want to make great music and videos and have a platinum album with Dominic, and I want my songs to have a meaning and effect on the listeners.