コマチComa-Chi

“This is just my way of thinking, but I think those who are seeking the real hip-hop, they are not looking for just fashion but they are looking from the bottom of their soul.”

Coma-Chi is a Tokyo-native rapper, singer, DJ, and mother, currently living in the bay area of Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture. She first heard about hip-hop when she was 15 and was deeply moved by the feminine strength of Lauryn Hill and MC Lyte. She started rapping as Coma-Chi at 20 and began writing lyrics after listening to Japanese rap groups like Rhymestar, Nitro Microphone Underground, and Tha Blue Herb. At 34, Coma-Chi reflects on the Japanese world around her from an underrepresented female perspective. Her lyrics include everything from relationships and the female point of view of going to the club to calling on the spirits of ancient Japanese empresses to speak to their modern feminine descendants.

In 2005, Coma Chi participated as the only female in the pioneering annual B-Boy Park MC battle in Yoyogi Park, in Tokyo. When the organizers planned the tournament, they had not envisioned that a female MC would make it to the final, so they organized the final to be in the center ring of the sacred sumo stadium, Ryogoku Kokugikan. Traditionally, women are not allowed to enter the ring, which created quite a debacle when Coma-Chi fought her way to the final. At first, the organizers had discussed suspending the final battle, but ultimately determined that, since it was not sumo, she could participate with the caveat that she could not wear high heels in the ring. Barefoot and determined, Coma-Chi took second place and became the first female ever to battle in the reverent Dohyo of Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In 2006, she put out her first independent release, “Day Before Blue”, on Da.Me Records, and the success from this record and her fame from B-Boy Park lead to her signing a contract with Knife Edge Records. In February 2009, Coma Chi released her first major label album called “Red Naked” and, a year later, released a second album called “Beauty or the Beast?” in May of 2010. When she made her major label debut, there was a feeling that only male rappers were allowed in Japan’s rap scene, but Coma-Chi wanted to change that. Being a trailblazer, Coma-Chi overcame the initial looking down on female rappers in Japan, and when she made her major label debut, she proved that women could do it and do it well. In 2011, Coma-Chi finished her contract with Knife Edge and decided to take her career in a different direction.

After experiencing the lack of control that major label artists experience and how they often don’t take the artist’s opinions into consideration, Coma-Chi decided to return to putting out her music independently. She started her own label called Queens Room Records, which first published a children’s picture book and CD called “A Boy Called The Sun”. Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, this books talks about the connections of love and nature and is about a young boy’s parents who catch a disease called “American Dream”. The disease forces him to go around asking for advice on a cure. He ultimately asks the sun, who says that they must return back to the origin of human beings, in Africa, to be healed. When they are healed, they become African. The book also comes with a CD that has a collection of original R&B, jazz, and afro-beat music on it.

In 2012, after doing loads of features on tracks with Japanese hip hop stars like RIP SLYME, Rhymester, Zeebra, Coma-Chi put out her first full independent album on Queen’s Room called “Golden Source”, and, in December 2013, she gave birth to her first child.

Her new album, released on Queen’s Room in March of 2018, is called “Jomon Green”, and it was inspired by a photo in a magazine that Coma-Chi saw last year. The photo was of a Kaen-Doki, a Jomon-era earthenware piece from around 4000 B.C., and she felt like our modern society was in great need of the ancient wisdom from the Jomon Period, a period of human civilization in Japan stretching from 14,000 B.C. to 300 B.C. and noted for the earliest evidence of fired clay pottery. She studied more about the era and discovered that, within it, there was a period of 10,000 years with no war. She also discovered that, because they were hunter-gatherers, they lived a sustainable lifestyle and the Jomon civilization was a maternal society, where mothers were the center of society. Ultimately, Coma Chi wanted to meditate on the connection between strong ancient Jomon matriarchs and women in today’s modern Japan and she does this very thing on her song, “Woman” (see below for link and lyrics).

I asked Coma-Chi to tell us some other Japanese female MCs that we should celebrate and she recommended a Shinto Shrine employee named MC Mystie, who started rapping at 42 and is featured on “Jomon Green”. She also recommended Tsubaki, who is also featured on this list. Her favorite female rapper in the world, at the moment, is Rhapsody.

When I asked her what message she wanted to share with our English-speaking audience, she said that you can listen to her album Jomon Green from anywhere in the world, that there is a song on the album called “Water” that has English lyrics, and she wants you to give it a listen and feel the ancient Japanese vibrations.

You can find more information at http://www.queens-room.com/

Listen to my interview with Coma-Chi here, with interpretation help from Junko Takahashi.

Lyrics to Coma-Chi’s Woman:

戦うために生まれたわけじゃない 大事なものただ守りたい
Overflowing love, I don’t deny it anymore.
溢れだす愛 もう否定しない 心に広がる母なる大地
Mother Earth, which spreads in the heart.
両手でハグするソウル 君に届ける優しい鼓動 「おかえり」
Soul to hug with both hands, gentle heartbeat to deliver to you.
ここが帰る場所 何故って答えはひとつ Because
Welcome back, here is the place to return to. Why? The answer is one because

We are the woman…
安らぎの 歌を歌おうLet’s sing a song of peace.
This is the women’s world

そうそれはDNA 組み込まれているのさ先天的に むしろ原始人
Yes it’s DNA, inherited congenitally, rather than from primitive man.
ネアルデルタールの頃からずっと受け継いできた長い歴史
It’s a long history, inherited all the time, since the age of Neanderthal.
女は守り 愛し育み 一人一人がまるで女神さま
Women protect, love, and raise; each one is a complete goddess.
だからいたわってその体 いつか大事な子を宿すから
So, please take care of the body because one day you will carry an important child
そしてその命が繋がり未来へ羽ばたき緑は輝き水は青き
And the life connects; to the future, wings flapping, green shimmers and water is blue;
この美しい地球を彩るcolorになる
Those will become the colors of the beautiful Earth.
明日を担う力生み出す 母の子宮恵みのひとしずく
Mother’s womb creates power for tomorrow, one drop of mercy,
苦しみ産み落とす 思い残すことなく種を残すBecause
Suffering by giving birth, never regretting leaving seeds behind because

We are the woman…
安らぎの 歌を歌おうLet’s sing a song of peace.
This is the women’s world

男たちは競い合う事で得る快感 深めてゆく絆
Men gain pleasure and deepen bonds by competing.
それも素敵だけど私達は違うの方法が
It’s nice as well, but we are different; the methods.
同じ土俵じゃ比べられないのわかってちょうだい
We cannot be compared on the same ring, please understand.
この世界の構造自体通用しない新時代
New era, the structure of this world itself is not accepted.
Back to母系社会 偶像崇拝なら美しい裸体
Back to the maternal society, if it is idolatry, beautiful naked body
マグダラのマリア宝のありか隠す内側
Mary of Magdalene, inner-side hides the treasure.
慰め癒す力 きっと何よりも尊いから
The power of comfort and healing, there is nothing more precious.
確かな第六感と共感力フル稼働して振りまくのさLOVEを
Fully operating a certain sixth sense and compassion; spread love.
笑わないでよスピリチュアルな波動
Don’t laugh, spiritual wave
Don’t think feel 伝える感情
Don’t think, feel emotion to tell
母なる地球 みたく包み込む 許し与える全て
Embrace like the Mother Earth. Forgive and give all.
混ざりあう色 時は優しく 溢れ出す永遠のLove‥
Mixed colors, time is gentle. Overflowing eternal love.

The folks at Japanesepod101.com also featured Coma-Chi and her track “The Voices of Kamuy” from Jomon Green and you can check it out here:

Also, check out her latest release, “This is Japan”, inspired by Childish Gambino’s “This is America” : https://soundcloud.com/coma_chi/this-is-japan

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