Let’s just get the review portion of this out of the way — JP THE WAVY’s “Louis 8” is fine, albeit one of the less memorable songs the viral rapper has created to date. It feels like a pleasant-enough loosie to share with fans, though it doesn’t really do much beyond being a nice example of how much JP THE WAVY knows about the NBA. Totally decent, but wouldn’t be terribly memorable save for one small detail.
The “Louis 8” referred to is Rui Hachimura, a Japanese basketball player currently playing his rookie season in the NBA with the Washington Wizards. He’s not the first Japanese person to land in the world’s best pro basketball league, but he’s definitely the best, coming into his first year with more hype than any before him. Hachimura has become a phenomenon in a lot of ways, and JP THE WAVY is the first highly visible rapper to shout him out in song. Watch the video below.
Since being drafted in 2019, the Japanese media (and a lot of Japanese brands) have flocked to Hachimura. News shows breakdown his games, and updates about his health following an injury a few weeks back have earned a lot of time as well. Making it all the more remarkable is the fact Japan didn’t really care about the NBA all that much before Hachimura. Naomi Osaka noticed it, and it’s pretty obvious for anyone who has lived in the country for a few years to notice how much interest has piqued as of late. For some more anecdotal evidence — my mother-in-law, whose interest in sports is “nonexistent” — can give you the latest updates on Hachimura.
He’s becoming pretty omnipresent, but there’s still a long way to go to see just how his impact on pop culture will be. “Louis 8” highlights one path Hachimura’s presence in Japan could go, becoming the kind of reference and avatar for coolness that those in art fields use as inspiration. JP THE WAVY’s song isn’t strictly about the player — it’s also about how cool he is — but it comes dipped with all kinds of shout outs to how Hachimura boasts an enviable coolness. It’s not all smooth, as that “Wizard” line shows, but the spirit is there. The song might not mean much, but it signals a big development in how Hachimura will intersect with Japanese pop culture.