The day I first heard ‘Grateful Days’ by Dragon Ash, my life changed forever.
At first, I wasn’t really expecting a rap tune; I just thought I was checking out another ACO song. I guess the whole featured artist thing was a bit of a clue, and when I heard the song, it reminded me of the typical sampled rap song designed to be a crossover hit. It has everything you need for that type of song, with ACO’s hook bringing the different sections of the song together memorably. The rappers on the track are Dragon Ash’s Kenji and Zeebra, also known for his work with the group King Giddorah (KG).
This was a great introduction for me, and it did its job as a pop tune and just pulled me in. The best thing about it was Zeebra’s verse. Kenji is good on the track, but when you hear Zeebra, you know he’s not there to mess around. At the time I first heard the track, I had no understanding of Japanese, so I just read his performance by his delivery. It was hard, yet controlled, matching the overall feel of the track. What on earth did “俺は東京生まれ Hip-Hop 育ち” mean? I had no idea, but from the way Zeebra said it, I knew I believed it.
Grateful Days ended up being on my MD player repeated constantly. From then on, I started to branch out on a journey moving to a bit of Dragon Ash, Zeebra (and other KG affiliated artists), my favorite DJ, DJ Krush and my favorite Japanese rapper, Twigy; all through ACO’s collaborations. I was now into another world of music that would dominate my listening habits for the next decade.