Well, I was having dinner with my friend Daniel last Friday in Koreatown when he told me about one of his favourite singers, Ayumi Hamasaki（浜崎あゆみ）. One of the bits of information I received was that she actually did a rap album. At first thought, I surmised that that it would be possible considering the type of music she did. I don't have a full range of knowledge of her discography so maybe the album was in there, I thought. But then, he told me that she did the album even before she released her first official single, "poker face". In fact, it was almost 3 years before "poker face".
My attention was got. After receiving the link from Daniel, I checked it out and found "NOTHING FROM NOTHING". Released in September 1995 (with an EP coming out later in December), Ayumi Hamasaki was once AYUMI, and her collaborators were DOHZI-T and DJ BASS. Hearing 16-year-old AYUMI rap with the guys kinda reminded me of EAST END×YURI. It's kinda cute...almost like hip-hop-moe. But then there was the dreamy bit where those familiar tones of her singing voice echoed slowly over the cool bass. The overall effect was rather reminiscent of all those R&B tunes during the 1990s before J-R&B became big near the end of the century, so actually I do like it.
DOHZI-T took care of the lyrics while Kazuo Ishijima（石嶋和雄）came up with the music. Unfortunately, "NOTHING FROM NOTHING" got nothing. It didn't get onto Oricon and Nippon Columbia summarily dropped her. Obviously, though, there was a much better fate for her on the horizon a few more years down the line. Wikipedia has stated that the EP and single are out of print so I'm sure the Holy Grail as far as her fans are concerned is this one.
Amazing the stuff one learns over Korean BBQ!