I like to listen to things that sound different and by extension, more original. Twigy brings this in not only his voice, but his flow. To me, a rapping style is a combination of both of those elements. When brought together, they make the most obvious thing we can judge a rapper on; their sound. Twigy was one of the first Japanese rappers I heard and at a time when I understood next to no Japanese, he got me interested in more of the culture purely because of the way he sounded.
I was first exposed to rappers who seemed to be putting on an especially deep or gruff voice. This was perhaps to legitimise themselves? After a while of hearing this, Twigy was a breath of fresh air and I was pleased to hear someone using what sounded like their natural voice and intonation. Hearing him speaking in interviews confirmed this. He sounded like exactly the same man, but not rapping.
Twigy does flow in a recognised rapping style, but it’s a style that’s rarely adopted and he uses it in a very unique way. I’d describe Twigy’s style as like a stone skipping gently across a still lake. He touches the beat ever so softly before suspending tine and hovering above it waiting for the next point of contact.
The best track to get a feel for his style is Kick It Out. This track has great production, well structured beat and an unobtrusive, yet influential bass line. Throughout the track, it’s almost as though he’s stopping and starting, yet he remains on beat and continues to flow consistently. In the final verse of the song, the bass takes a break and we hear Twigy clearly. That lets us hear his voice, the other part of his style that attracts me to his work.
His style certainly isn’t for everyone, but as he says himself, he is all about “originali-T-W-I-G-Y”. With Twigy, it’s not about sheer imitation. Every time he appears on a track, he’s offering something fresh and original to the Japanese rap world.