Album review: Teriyaki boyz - Beef or chicken

Album review: Teriyaki boyz - Beef or chicken
What do you get when you mix 2 truck loads of BAPE wear, 4 established Japanese rappers who are fans and friends of Pharrell Williams, and a lot of money? The answer: The birth of the Teriyaki boyz and a debut album entitled Beef or chicken.

From the album opens up you become aware that the Teriyaki boyz are not out to become the best rappers in the game on lyric writing level with the likes of say Jay-Z. But to be the most entertaining, accessible and fun. The Teriyaki boyz want fans to remember what it is was like when rap was about having a good time, getting down to some old school beats and doing away with lyrics of nothing but grandeur, hoes and bitches, and with this they succeed with the flying colours of their BAPE wears. Beef or chicken heralds back to the days of Run DMC.

The Teriyaki boyz' debut features production from talent that Western rappers would kill for. DJ Premiere, Just Blaze, The Neptunes, Daft Punk, Mark Ronson and AdRock of The Beastie boys all contribute to the LP. Despite the number of producers (each of whom's style is different from the last knob twiddler) their individual offerings some how manage to come together to form a cohesive album. And not have the album fall into the usual trap rap albums fall into when every track is by a different producer: which is a disc that sounds more like a ragged mixtape.

The album's first full length track "The takeover" is too funky for its own good. Just try and listen to this song without bustin' out an electric slide, a two step and a shoulder dip. "Celebrity death match" see's the boyz in full on throwback mode with a beat that genuinely does sound like something knocked up by Run DMC and Jam Master Jay. Just listen to this drums and horn samples on the chorus. OLD SKOOL! "Beef or chicken" has a distinct Beastie boys air about it due to Beastie boy AdRock's production and co-writing. It's no secret the Beastie boys are hardcore fans of old school rap, so once again the throw back style comes into play. The song is so stupid that you can't help but love it. I wish this had been made a single. It could've done big things, especially in the West with the aid of a hot video.

The boyz slow things down and halt the throwback wagon with tracks from a couple of producers who are no strangers to how to go about crafting club banger. "Cho large" see's Pharrell on production duties. Bringing a dark, minimal banger to the table which has the boyz adopting a smooth, almost drawl like delivery. You could just imagine the boyz spitting some game into a girls ear in some dark corner of a club as the song rolls along. Just Blaze's "Konyawa baggy pants" rides the same vibe as "Cho large". With the beat consisting of a simple yet ridiculously catchy drum pattern and the boyz spitting their lines in a semi-drawl, with the chorus having the boyz adopt what comes off like a nursery rhyme chant. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some weed and a couple of hip-hop loving Japanese groupy hoes giving head and whipping out a titty in the studio when these songs were recorded. They just have that laid bag, swagged out vibe about them. Great tracks though.

Every song on the album is hot quirky and original....except for one. Daft Punk's "HeartBreaker". The weakest song on the album by far because there's just not much to it. It's a shame Daft Punk didn't craft a whole new production for the guys, instead of just slowing down the beginning of their own song "Human after all" and looping it. This isn't a shit song, but it does feel lazy in comparison to the rest of the cuts on the album. But the song is decent enough that enough of Teriyaki boyz quirkiness comes through. Some may love the song. But it wasn't one of my favourites. I just don't think it's the kind of song you buy into with the Teriyaki boyz, which is why I was almost shocked and stunned it ended up on the album. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

Beef or chicken's strength is that it never takes itself seriously, yet the boyz manage to put up some damn good songs that make you take notice and wanna move. It's fun, well produced and pushes the boundaries of bog standard rap by not limiting itself to the confines of the genre. If you like rap with a twist, buy this album. Do not let the language barrier deter you from enjoying what is an incredibly fun rap album from start to finish.

Album highlights:
■ The takeover
■ Heart breaker
■ Celebrity death match
■ School of rock
■ Cho large
■ Moon the world
■ Konyawa baggy pants
■ Beef or chicken J's fave


  1. Was a really good album! I played the shit out of that when it first dropped...


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