City of God (produced by Casket:Jones) is about the crab in the bucket mentality of Toronto. The topic and themes are an expansion on critically acclaimed Brazilian crime film “City of God” and its tagline “If you run, the beast catches you; if you stay, the beast eats you”, meaning “If you try to run from hood, the hood holds you back; if you stay, you become a hoodlum like everyone else”. Yasuke and KitKat Fuego both narrate the story in the roles of the two main characters Benny and Lil Zé (KitKat Feugo portraying Lil Zé and Yasuke portraying Benny).
This resonated deeply with Toronto’s own culture, which right now is seeing many tragic shootings of young black rappers and the rise in police brutality both foreign and domestically. Yasuke concludes his verse with “Police gun us down so do crime. Which you choosing?”. Showing the inevitability of being given only two options as a black man from the inner city. City of God’s intention is to shed light on the struggles of escaping circumstances beyond your control.
Raised in Scarborough (The most eastern sector of Toronto, Canada) Tahir Grant Jr. is the conduit of his upbringing and his hometown. His stature mirroring that of an NBA player and his ability to effortlessly switch between his native English & self-taught Japanese while rhyming has garnered him the name “Yasuke” (formally known as Tahir). Yasuke was a samurai of African descent in feudal Japan who was in fact that first Non-Japanese warrior to become one. Gaining notoriety via social media footage of himself rapping fluently in Japanese. Tahir’s fans began to call him Yasuke, to which he fully embraced.
Yasuke’s style is derived from a myriad of sources including but not limited to Andre 3000, Pharrell Williams, Childish Gambino, Kohn, and Prince. With his heavy-hitting drums and sometimes melancholic lyrics about his upbringing, Yasuke seeks to be the bridge between the North American and Japanese music markets. Inserting himself in history alongside his predecessor.
Follow @yasukejunior on Instagram.