Well, talk about the expression "When life throws you lemons, make lemonade!" In 2002, smooth-voiced Lisa of m-flo left the group but remaining members Verbal and ☆Taku stayed cool and started a series labeled "m-flo loves who?" from the following year in which a rolling series of guest vocalists would give their own contributions to the oft-sunny hip-pop of the unit. To be honest, though, I'd only known one example of this series before I bought their 2nd BEST album, "Award SuperNova - Loves Best-" in 2008, and that was m-flo loves Bonnie Pink, "Love Song".
One day in my sweltering apartment, I was watching one of the cable music video channels, Space Shower, and it was playing a spotlight show of m-flo hits. The various videos were pretty fun and despite that I have never been a hardcore hip-hop fan, I liked m-flo's lighter touch to the genre. And what sent me over the edge to buy "Award SuperNova", their BEST album of "m-flo loves who?" was when the commercial for this album popped up right after the spotlight. I just went "Why not?" and the next time I hit one of the CD shops, I pulled out the yen. Snazzy cover.
"Award SuperNova" has the audio CD and a DVD filled with all of the "m-flo loves who?" videos with singers as varied as Crystal Kay and veteran singer Akiko Wada（和田アキ子）. Strangely enough, the one video which didn't have its audio equivalent on the CD was the one for "DOPAMINE", m-flo's 18th single from February 2005. I had seen the video on that spotlight show and just thought the song would have been the first hip-hop number suited as the theme song for a comedy-variety show. (And I guess it is the first Japanese pop song named after a neurotransmitter.) Bright and day-glo colourful and infectious with Verbal flying about in anti-gravity and then-teenaged EMYLI shaking her booty, it was a hap(py)-hop song at the Apple Store! Heck, even Diggy Mo' from hip-hop band SOUL'd OUT came across as being fairly cuddly considering that he looked like a fellow who could twist me into a sizable pretzel if I stared at him the wrong way.
Although the influence doesn't show up as prominently in the video, "DOPAMINE" sampled "The 900 Number" by 45 King. It peaked at No. 20 on Oricon. As for "Award SuperNova", it hit the top spot and eventually became the 62nd-ranked album for 2008.