Named by music magazine Fader as one of the “5 coolest people shaping Tokyo’s music scene,” Yukibeb has made a name for herself with groovy soundscapes that are outside of Japan’s more expected popular rap and pop favorites. The 27-year-old artist began making and posting her eclectic mixes of hip-hop, lo-fi, future beats and R&B on Soundcloud in 2011 and quickly gained international attention. A member of the L.A.-based artist collective and music label Soulection, Yukibeb plays mostly in clubs in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood.
We caught up with Yukibeb recently to ask about what to check out when it comes to Tokyo’s music scene. Follow her advice and tap into the city’s vibrant, and constantly evolving lineup of talent.
What’s trending in live music in Tokyo?
Hip-hop is trending the most, similar to the rest of Asia. There are many new and upcoming rappers in the scene that have gained popularity through YouTube and Soundcloud, something that wasn’t happening here a few years back.
What kind of music are you playing these days?
My sets recently have been a lot of early 2000 throwbacks mixed with recent R&B and hip-hop music. I consider my sets as more chill and loungey so people can still dance but also mingle and just vibe out.
What music is trending in Japan?
Well, when it comes to mainstream music, that’s very different from what the kids in the music scene are actually listening to. Commercial music includes a lot of idol group music and J-pop. Japanese people are getting more familiar with streaming sites and have their own taste in music these days.
What are some of your favorite Tokyo music clubs?
I’ve recently been playing once a month at the club Harlem in Shibuya and Sankey’s Penthouse in between Harajuku and Shibuya. Here are a few others that I like:
- TRUNK Hotel – They do many daytime parties, from around 6 to 11 p.m. Brands do pop-ups and they have various styles of music playing.
- DJ Bar & Lounge WREP – Here you will only find hip-hop. It’s an intimate space with low ceilings, and some events end by midnight while some go on until 5 a.m. It’s a good place to bring friends to catch up and have a drink.
- JBS – This bar in Shibuya is owned by Mr. Kobayashi, who has thousands of his own vinyl records at the store. The gin and tonics are to die for!
- Sound Museum Vision – This is the most relevant night club where they have varied nights featuring everyone from old-school hip-hop DJs to house/techno legends. It’s also one of the only music-oriented clubs that hosts various parties of different genres.
You can listen to Yukibeb’s music on her artist page (and Soulection’s), both on Soundcloud.