Naruto Rap: Unlikely Tributes

Ever wondered what Orochimaru dubstep sounds like? Or if Killer Bee was a real rapper? Look no further as French electronica duo Tha Trickaz bring manga-themed hip hop to your earphones.

I’m an enthusiast of French rap, and regularly attempt to listen to new music. It was during one of these moments that I encountered Tha Trickaz. What I heard was nothing like what I expected, of course, when I heard Itachi’s voice scream out “Sharingan!” and the music segueing into the Naruto Shippuden opening theme.

Of course, I had to keep listening. The strange mix of dubstep, basses dropping everywhere, and an overpowering blend of Japanese-inspired music and sound clips from the animé Naruto, was actually pretty damn good. It’s way better than it sounds, and you really have to experience it to get what I mean.

Just have a listen to the start of this track – this is the one I unofficially call Orochimaru Dubstep, although its real name is Samurai 7:

My fiancé, who really isn’t a big fan of rap/hip-hop, hesitantly allowed me to put their album on in the car one day and he soon found himself grooving to it! I would urge everyone to give it a try, because it’s really something special.

Tha Trickaz themselves are Pho and DJ iRaize, Parisians of Vietnamese origin. They used to produce EPs under the moniker “The Vietnamists”, but the newer name “Tha Trickaz” has a double meaning as it is loosely connected to the Japanese word jutsu, which really means technique, if we’re being picky. And jutsus are what Naruto is all about.

Their first full-length album is called Cloud Adventure. It was released in 2011 and it features a healthy mix of full-on rap in both English and French, dubstep, EDM (Electronic Dance Music), crunk with world fusion influences (that reminds me of Beats Antique in places), electronica with an orchestral, epic edge, and good old-fashioned hip-hop. Quite a feat for just one album, I’d say. Not to mention its beautiful artwork. The very name “Cloud Adventure” evokes the old Chinese legend of Sun Wukong the Monkey King and his flying cloud, a legend which was reworked in Dragonball Z and, to a lesser extent, in Naruto.

The following song is called ‘Tha Trickaz no Jutsu!”, and is a hilarious remix featuring a whole host of characters battling it to the death. Listen out for how many characters you can recognise (Here’s a hint: there’s more than just Naruto in here, as you can probably tell from the EP artwork).

The entire album is free to listen to at either Youtube, Spotify, or Tha Trickaz’ own website.

It’s always great to see musicians experimenting with the form and function of music, incorporating cult elements and little hidden gems that fans of those things will appreciate. Tha Trickaz are moving forward all the time with new music, and never seem to lose their epic, animé-inspired touch.

Oh yes, and did I mention they perform in ANBU masks. It’s official: geeks have infiltrated the hip-hop scene and are here to stay!

main image © Tha Trickaz


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