The latest group to bloom from the EXILE family tree signifies an important development in the make and shape of outfits from one of J-pop’s most popular projects. BALLISTIK BOYZ debuted over the weekend with their first song “TENHANE -1000%-”, a pavement-pounding pop hybrid signaling an important adjustment in line with global trends. Watch the video below.
BALLISTIK BOYZ consists of seven members who dabble in a mix of straight-ahead pop singing and rapping, all while executing tight choreography. Sounds pretty in line for what you would expect from the EXILE expanded universe. But the critical new development introduced on “TENHANE -1000%-” is that the members do all of it. The selling point for this group is that “for the first time ever within LDH, each member has a microphone.” Prior to this, EXILE and EXILE-associated projects divided the labor up, usually having a handful of vocalists manage singing while everyone around them focuses on dancing. In the same way, the perfect Pokémon party emphasizes the strengths of each member, EXILE also lets folks do what they do best.
But BALLISTIK BOYZ engages in a celebration of everything at once. Each of the group’s members gets a chance to rap over the course of “TENHANE -1000%-”, offering each the opportunity to display their own style for fans (especially vital on this, their debut number). And they also flex their footwork, including a nifty bit during the late-song breakdown. This is the direction global pop music has gone in the last few years, probably best captured by the Korean pop industry, which notably makes sure those in groups can do everything. BALLISTIK BOYZ isn’t the first J-pop outfit embracing this approach, but they are one of the first to come out of one of the nation’s pop legacy acts.
Just as notable a change, BALLISTIK BOYZ really lean into rap. J-pop tends to get tagged as behind the times when placed on a global stage. Which is often not fair, but also often accurate. The global sound of pop music in 2019 is hip-hop, and most Japanese mainstream hits aren’t that. BALLISTIK BOYZ, however, seems built for the sonic preference of today and, coupled with the emphasis on all-around talent, are an intriguing new entry in Japan and one signaling that the times are changing.
Visit the group’s official site to learn more, and stay tuned for more updates about them.