As a teenager, Yayoi Daimon performed as a hip hop dancer in various clubs in Osaka. She then joined the all-girl band Rhythmic before going solo in 2013. As she is about to become an independent artist, the Japanese rapper told us about her journey and feminism.
How and when were you introduced to hip hop for the first time?
When I was 12, I saw the dance showcase “Dance & Vocal Club” at my junior high school cultural festival. They inspired me a lot and I immediately felt like I belonged with them. That was my first crush on hip hop. Destiny’s Child’s best album Number 1’s also inspired me a lot at the time.
You’re a rapper and a DJ. Did you start these two activities at the same time?
I started dancing and singing when I was 12 and starting DJing after 20.
Which artists did you listen to while growing up?
I was into 90’s classics when I was young. My style of dance was called “middle school”. I really loved J Dilla, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill.
Which one of your tracks best represents you and why?
Heels and NO BRA! Heels is my best feminist anthem. It was produced by my mentor SHINGO★NISHINARI (Shingo Ghetto). He is a hoodstar like Nipsey Hussle in our area. He gave me a lot of power and helped me find completely my words.
NO BRA! is also a feminist anthem. Producer XLII had a very unique idea. With “TAKING OFF” and “PULL UP BRAS”. It’s a worldwide shit. Many people discovered me through this song.
How do you usually write? Do you have any routines or favorite topics?
I write by myself at my house. I always feel so lonely but I’m able to focus my feelings. My topics are the whole feminism thing from love songs to strong ones.
You collaborated with several other Asian female rappers. Why is it important to you to work with other women?
The hip hop industry has only a few female artists in Japan (especially in the past). I’ve survived this men’s society for a long time. So I just want to cheer up any female artist and am also interested in exchanging our energy. I believe that we can create major empowerment!
What is the female rap scene like in Japan?
It’s getting better and better. Many rappers have come out to live in a new era. It’s a new generation.
Who are your female role models?
How do you define your own feminism?
It was a way to survive our men’s society. Of course I respect men, but I sometimes felt that there was no equality. I was so weak. That’s why I can speak on behalf of girls.
What are your upcoming projects? How does the coronavirus pandemic impact on your activities?
In April, I’ll be an independent artist. It’s a very new vibe for me! The coronavirus helped me prioritize a lot of important things, like what I have to do. Now I’m struggling but I believe that after it’s over, I can give big power to the people who are suffering the same things as me.
What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?
Thank you for inviting me! ARIGATOOOO.
Find Yayoi Daimon on her website, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.