Teriyaki Boyz

With cosigns from the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell of the Neptunes, Japanese rap supergroup the Teriyaki Boyz were intended to be ambassadors of the country's hip-hop scene to the world music arena. Their formation facilitated by Japanese urban trendsetter, entrepreneur, DJ, and producer Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao), the crew includes MCs Ilmari (Keisuke Ogihara) and Ryo-Z (Ryouji Narita) from Rip Slyme, Verbal of hip-hop/club duo m-flo, and solo act Wise (Kameyama Seiji). Nigo debuted the Teriyaki Boyz on his 2004 compilation Nigo Presents: (B)Ape Sounds, adding the DJ Shadow-produced "Kamikaze 108." For the group's debut album, Nigo assembled an all-star cast of producers, particularly taken from the U.S.'s hip-hop underground and pop mainstream, including Just Blaze, Cut Chemist, the Neptunes, DJ Premier, and Dan the Automator. After the Teriyaki Boyz inked a deal with Def Jam, the tongue-in-cheek Beef or Chicken first arrived in Japan in 2005 with "Heartbreaker," produced by Daft Punk, as its lead single. The Japanese troupe dispelled doubts of being a one-off collaboration by contributing two songs to the soundtrack of the 2006 movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and issuing a new single, the Kanye West-produced "I Still Love H.E.R.," the following year. ~ Cyril Cordor

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