Review | BAE & The Cat’s Whiskers “PRIDE”


BAE and The Cat’s Whiskers proved their worth with intense, stylish and aesthetically pleasing songs in a battle for PRIDE.

Paradox Live PRIDEParadox Live PRIDE
Title: Paradox Live Stage Battle "PRIDE"
Release date: 29/07/2020
Label: Avex
Genre: Hip-Hop


1 - EmBlem!!! (BAE)
2 - 4 REAL (The Cat's Whiskers)
3 - Voice Drama "PRIDE" Part1
4 - Voice Drama "PRIDE" Part2

Track by track analysis:

1 – EmBlem!!!

BAE come at you with EmBlem!!!, song that takes pride in its washy synths, R&B influences and summery vibe. The bass line hits hard, going at it with the hi-hat driven beat.

The verses flow in a chillout, slightly sexy fashion, slowly making its way to the addictive and dreamy chorus in which 96neko’s vocals shine.

As far as BAE’s rap game goes, you can expect a lot of flair and confidence overflowing in this song. Gakuto Kajiwara’s rough vocals, Ayumu Murase’s smooth, bright singing and aggressive rap and 96Neko’s stylish rap and clear vocals shine.

The synergy is impressive and their work as a team is awesome, not to mention that they own their solo parts.

2 – 4 REAL

Bring the lo-fi hip-hop back to the table, the The Cat’s Whiskers have quite the old-school rap sound going in this song, very reminiscent of Wu-Tang-Clan.

4 REAL counts with minimalistic jazz drums, a bouncy bass line, elegant piano melodies sampled and a beautiful saxophone melody playing in the background.

The verses channel a nostalgic, old-school sound that I love to bits. The lo-fi vibes are strong in this one, with jazz being more prominent in this song than on the team’s debut song.

The chorus… I feel this chorus. Love the background choir and how it blended with the powerful, passionate rap by The Cat’s Whiskers.

Natsuki Hanae was on fire for this song. Just… wow at his performance.

The intensity and fire in his rhymes could be felt and was highly appreciated. Ryota Takeuchi and Yuu Hayashi added the flavor to this song, going for unique performances that covered slow paced and introspective style to fiery off beat rap with a lot of flair. Junta Terashima almost goes unnoticed but he was also on point.

Absolute masterclass by The Cat’s Whiskers.

Final considerations

What a matchup this one was! BAE with their catchy rap-meets-pop sound and The Cat’s Whiskers, with nothing to lose, going for a masterful performance with an old-school touch.

I feel The Cat’s Whiskers’ “4 REAL” on a much deeper lever than BAE’s “EmBlem!!!“.

That classic, 90s east coast, jazz hop sound that was made popular by the awesome Wu-Tang-Clan is here and I couldn’t help but to fall in love with it as soon as the first beat made its entrance.

That’s the twist to rap and hip-hop that I love.

It’s emotional, it’s closer to the listener and it makes you invested in the music.

The instrumentalization is drop dead gorgeous in “4 REAL“.

That melancholic saxophone adds such a beautiful touch to the song that, along with those jazzy piano melodies and groovy bass line, make it an easy battle for me. The Cat’s Whiskers’ “4 REAL” is the best song in this release.

Of course, let’s not forget how loungy and fancy BAE’s “EmBlem!!!” is. In comparison to previous releases, this is the best song by the team. I loved the power and charisma they had going not to mention that the instrumental is insanely tasteful.

All in all, we’re blessed with 2 awesome hip-hop songs. Whichever you pick, you’re in for quite the awesome ride.

Paradox Live Stage Battle “PRIDE” is available for streaming on Spotify.

Do not support piracy. Remember to support the Paradox Live franchise by streaming via official outlets.


BAE and The Cat's Whiskers proved their worth with intense, stylish and aesthetically pleasing songs in a battle for PRIDE. The crown in this release goes to the outstanding entry by The Cat's Whiskers "4 REAL". The old-school jazz-hop sound from the 90s is present, the rap is intense yet with that old-school flavor still coating those performances. It is aesthetically pleasing and really rich in its choice of samples. BAE's "EmBlem!!!" is a good track that has a completely different take on the PRIDE concept, going slower and minimalistic in what is a memorable song. All in all, the winners are the fans of both teams, as we get in this release, 2 awesome songs to jam along to.


Vanessa Silva
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).





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