DJ Krush put Japanese hip-hop on the map, and remains one of the world’s most inventive sculptors of lush, atmospheric breakbeats. The producer and turntablist is known for his unconventional beat structures and abstract samples from jazz and soul records, with later recordings incorporating arrangements for traditional Japanese instruments.
First surfacing with 1994’s acid jazz-style full-length Krush, the producer soon gained a worldwide audience through his association with pioneering trip-hop label Mo’Wax. Albums such as Meiso (1995) and Milight (1996) featured collaborations with Mos Def, DJ Shadow, and Guru, cementing his reputation throughout the hip-hop underground. He continued pushing the outer limits of hip-hop on subsequent albums like Kakusei (1998) and The Message at the Depth (2002) before taking a long break from releasing his own material following 2004’s Jaku.
He returned the following decade, releasing vocal-heavy efforts such as 2015’s Butterfly Effect as well as instrumental Cosmic Yard (2018), a partial return to the darker, more abstract sound of some of his earlier work.