After weeks upon weeks of anticipation, the latest album from Tokyo-based hip-hop artist iri is finally here. Following an announcement put out earlier this year, as well as a slew of music videos over the last several months, I’ve made it no secret in my coverage that I’ve been beyond excited. Ever since the first time I heard “Watashi” on rotation over on MTV Japan and Space Shower Music I’ve been crazy for iri’s work, and in her third album “Shade”, she does not disappoint at all.
From start to finish, iri’s latest “Shade” is easily one of her freshest releases to date. It’s this beautiful combination of incredible lyricism, flow, and production that all melds together so perfectly. Even though I’ve already heard several of the songs on here through single releases, listening to them all together feels like such a complete experience. Much like “Juice” before it, iri’s latest might just be my year-defining album, and one I’ll definitely find myself coming back to time and time again.
I’d spent a lot of time hyping this album up to myself, and it should be very obvious why. But while I’d normally find myself burned out by this excitement, “Shade” never falls short and delivered on all fronts. But how could it? With such a stacked lineup, all artists who perfectly compliment iri with their production and arrangements, there was no way this could be anything short of incredible. I mean, just look at this tracklist:
01. Shade produced by Shinichi Osawa
02. Only One arranged by Yaffle (Tokyo Recordings)
03. Wonderland arranged by ESME MORI (Pistachio Studio)
04. Common arranged by STUTS
05. cake arranged by Grooveman Spot
06. Flashlight produced by tofubeats
07. 飛行 arranged by Kan Sano
08. Sway arranged by Shingo.S
09. Peak arranged by Kenmochi Hidefumi (Wednesday Campanella)
10. Keep on trying arranged by ESME MORI (Pistachio Studio)
11. mirror arranged by Jungo Miura (PETROLZ), Ippei Sawamura & Tsukasa Sumigaki (SANABAGUN.)
Available now via all major streaming services, iri’s latest “Shade” is definitely not a release to miss out on in 2019. For those interested in checking out further information, be sure to visit iri’s official website.