The Rapper Known as KOHH

The Rapper Known as KOHH

Kohh was born on April 22nd, 1990, in Oji, Kita Tokyo. He was born as Yuki Chiba into a home where a single mother raised him alongside his younger brother. He never really had a father in his life due to his father committing suicide by jumping off an apartment building while high on drugs. His father was not the only one who had an issue with drug addiction as his mother struggled with a meth addiction as well. 

Kohh always had an affinity towards hip-hop music and the environment that he was surrounded by gave him the ammunition to get a head-start in the local rap community. His local community consisted of other children who shared similar struggles as him. 

KOHH’s Entry into Rap Music

Kohh started self-producing his own music and recording on his own at the young age of 18 years old. Shortly after, he was discovered by Japanese hip-hop producer 318 and began releasing his music on the label GUNSMITH PRODUCTION. Kohh started to see success in the underground rap scene throughout Tokyo and achieved viral success with his song “Young Forever,” which featured his younger brother, who also raps under the name ‘Lil Kohh. 

From this point, things were looking up for Kohh as he started production on his second studio album MONOCHROME. MONOCHROME released in 2014 to a moderate amount of buzz. In 2015 Kohh started to become more of a household name in the hip-hop industry. This garnered him a feature on Keith Ape’s track It G Ma, which became an overnight success in not only Keith Ape’s home country of South Korea, Kohh’s home of Japan but also attracting the interest of international media. 

Since then, Kohh has gone on to hold featuring spots with Frank Ocean, Utada Hikaru, and Mariah Carey. 

The Influence of KOHH

Since his debut, Kohh has been changing the hip-hop scene throughout Japan, if not Asia. He has paved the way for many artists who would likely never have seen the light of day to have an opportunity to make it big. He has been incredibly vocal about mass media’s perception and negligence of hip-hop in Japan. 

He has brought to light many of the negative aspects that happen in the projects of Japan, something that the major media tends to stray away from. Many of these aspects, such as violence, drug use, and prostitution, are something which is very rarely if ever mentioned throughout mass media in Japan. 

He has done everything he can do to stay true to what he believes in and shows it in his lyrics tastefully and rhythmically. The method that Kohh has chosen to tell not only his story but the story of the people around him has turned heads not only in the public space but in the celebrity mainstay as well with m-flo’s Taku Takahashi crediting Kohh as one of the main acts for the hip hop resurgence throughout Japan. 

The Future of KOHH

Kohh released his fifth studio album in 2019 and has undoubtedly been working on music since then. When his next album releases are yet to be determined or at least announced. But one thing for sure is that once it drops, he will once again challenge the social norm of what Japanese media portrays. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing the work that he has been devoting himself to, day in and day out. 

Maybe one-day hip hop music will be as popular in Japan as it is overseas. I think that in this day and age, there is only one person that can pave the way to make that happen, and that person is Kohh. As his tasteful portrayal of the surroundings that he grew up with and the troubles that the less than fortunate youth go through, it shines a fresh light on the traditionally political Japanese music industry.

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