“FATE” opens this new battle season in the best way possible. Emotions are reeling, bonds are up to the test, and the music by all groups is at its best.
Title: Paradox Live -Road to Legend- Round1 "FATE" Label: Avex Release date: 27/07/2022 Genre: Hip-Hop
1 - We △re The Future [BAE] 2 - True Pride [AMPRULE] 3 - Shooting Arrows [The Cat's Whiskers] 4 - edN [1Nm8]
1 - Voice Drama "FATE" Part1 2 - Voice Drama "FATE" Part2 3 - Voice Drama "FATE" Part3 4 - Voice Drama "FATE" Part4
Track by track analysis:
1 – We △re The Future
A hard-hitting snary beat leads the way for this trap tune.
The verses are dark however what will impress you the most is the powerful chorus.
The chorus softens a bit and brings a more danceable sound to the spotlight, with the beat going too intense in the hi-hat triplets, leaving the vocals to do the talking.
“We △re The Future” is a statement song, bringing an aggressive sound and performance led by Having (CV:Ayumu Murase).
This song has the perfect balance between rap and harmonies however let’s talk about Ayumu Murase’s performance in this song. From the melodies, smooth and emotional, to the rap, intense and aggressive, he did it all. For once, it seemed like Gakuto Kajiwara and 96neko were only supporting him instead of the usual teamwork with equal lines and spotlight arrangement that the team has.
What a strong way to kick off this battle!
2 – True Pride
AMPRULE follows suit with a dramatic hip-hop with a powerful breakbeat and reverberating bassline.
Strings add a regal touch to the mid-tempo, triplets-filled verses.
When the chorus kicks in, “True Pride” takes its final form, bringing grandiose and intense in a unique way as Marina Inoue completely owns this performance with a lot of swagger and poise.
Pizzicato strings welcome you to the second verse as Ryotaro Okiayu takes the spotlight to deliver a fancy rap performance, leading up to the imposing, unapproachable chorus.
Strong, strong showing by AMPRULE.
3 – Shooting Arrows
Lo-fi hip-hop masters The Cat’s Whiskers take the stage with a track that is all about its dramatic jazz sound.
Syncopated beats and an intense piano melody paint this intimate soundscape as a contrabass punches its way through the instrumental.
“Shooting Arrows” sounds more like a jazz improvisation track than hip-hop, something that makes it really fun to listen to however the intensity of the verses and the looping low piano melody may end up throwing off those that are not that big fans of the unpredictability, the organized chaos of jazz.
As far as the rap parts go, I feel like – without going into the meaning of the lyrics themselves -, this is one of the weakest performances by the team.
Intentional or not, there is something missing from The Cat’s Whiskers in this performance.
4 – edN
Wrapping up this streak of battles is “edN”.
Atmospheric synths create a wide, pure white soundscape. The tempo is comfortable and the beat is tight for the duration of the verses.
When the chorus kicks off, a summery piano melody – jaunty however quite muffled – joins in, and the beat perkiest up a beat to accommodate the fancy unison vocals by 1Nm8.
Between clean melodies – mainly performed by Shoya Chiba – to the heavy, intense rapping in the group – in which all members take turns, 1Nm8 is all about its fancy, dreamy, pure sound and almost passive-aggressive rapping style and it works insanely well for this tune.
Strong entry with a surprisingly addictive chorus while keeping things insanely simple.
“FATE” brought back old wounds in all groups, however the way each group tackled those ended up to be really interesting.
BAE and AMPRULE face off and the tension is there. BAE takes a stance with an aggressive brand of hip-hop and equally powerful lyrics. However, it is quite interesting to find the chorus mellower in contrast to the punchy, ear-splitting bass-driven sound in the verses. BAE wants payback.
AMPRULE goes for a sound and performance that show that they could care less about payback. The tone is imposing and the performances confer it an “untouchable” vibe.
I’m a sucker for breakbeat hip-hop so this track instantly clicked with me, something that didn’t happen with BAE’s.
Awesome, quality-wise, BAE nudges away, only so slightly, from AMPRULE.
The second battle has The Cat’s Whiskers and 1Nm8.
Two takes on the laid-back style of hip-hop, two groups that are all about sharing their emotions in quiet ways although packing quite the punch with their delivery.
Comparing both, 1Nm8 takes the win (for me). Passive-aggressive rap with dreamy instrumentals is a surprisingly perfect balance and delivers the message to the other team without too much of a hassle.
I feel like the cleaner sound in 1Nm8’s “edN” makes everything about it flow better. The rap is clean and clear, and the instrumental stays in a comfortable compromise between hip-hop and minimalistic electronica.
So, if my votes changed anything about the final results in both battles, BAE and 1Nm8 would advance. Regardless, I’m curious to see who are the groups advancing to the next stage in the battle to become a legend.
All in all, “FATE” opens this new battle season in the best way possible. Emotions are reeling, bonds are out to the test, and the music by all groups sounds at its best.
Paradox Live is a mixed media project that has hip-hop music as its selling point.
The project is developed by Avex and G Crest and features 9 teams:
- BAE consists of Gakuto Kajiwara, Ayumu Murase and 96Neko
- The Cat’s Whiskers consists of Ryota Takeuchi, Yu Hayashi, Natsuki Hanae, and Junta Terashima
- cozmez consists of Yusuke Kobayashi and Toshiyuki Toyonaga
- 悪漢奴等 (Akkan Yatsura) consists of Takayuki Kondo, Shima, Shunichi Toki, Tasuku Hatanaka and Shogo Yano
- 武雷管 (Buraikan) consists of Kensho Ono and Junichi Suwabe
- VISTY consists of Yoshiki Nakajima, Kashitaro Ito, Ami, Tetsuei Sumiya
- AMPRULE consists of Marina Inoue and Ryotaro Okiayu
- 1Nm8 consists of Amatsuki, Ryo Kitamura, Shoya Chiba
- 獄LUCK (Goku Luck) consists of Makoto Furukawa, Shogo Batori, Shinnosuke Tachibana, Chiaki Kobayashi
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