Taking a break with krooning rap without attitude

Raheem DeVaughn, a “neo-soul” singer from Washington D.C., who was at Tokyo’s Cotton Club, delivers music that’s a tribute to R&B of past generations, and the lyrics/rap of his group is powerful poetry.
Absent is the “gangsta” attitude of some hiphop.
Instead there’s plenty of hippie love … and allusions to great African American music of the past.
DeVaughn is the son of jazz cellist Abdul Wadud.
Well-behaved rap isn’t the oxymoron it seems it would be with DeVaughn’s The Love Experience.

Flower Children 4

Image from Loic Bizel‘s Fashion in Japan .
My story from 2004.

Thoughts from Today:
Flower Children by definition don’t want to hurt other people.
They choose jobs with that in mind.
Besides obvious choices like becoming musicians and joining the Peace Corps, some career choices are more common than others among Flower Children:
Firemen because they save lives.
Paramedics because they save lives.
Schoolteachers because they help kids become better people.
Journalists because we try to tell the world the “truth” and help people make up their own minds about what’s right and wrong.
At one point, big-name companies like manufacturers also attracted engineers and other people who wanted to make things like cars and jet engines to help make this world a better place.
But somewhere along the way, getting jobs at big-name companies became an ends in itself for many Japanese.
The message was: Study hard to get in the best university possible, where a job with a big-name company will be guaranteed by your junior year.
That’s why we need Flower Children today in Japan.

Flower Children

Take a walk around Harajuku, and the mood feels like Haight Ashbury.
The youngsters are mellow.
They wear hippie-like clothes, a bit shabby, shirttails untucked, skirts flowered, big hats, sunglasses, dangling jewelry.
They’re saying: We aren’t into being square.
No one is in a rush.
Soft giggles. Smell of sweet food. Music.
Always music. From stores, iPods, street performers.
Japan’s young people are more interested in expressing themselves and being friends with everyone than in gaining materialistic wealth and social status.
It’s not even about dropping out.
Japan has been peaceful and conformist and harmonious for so long there’s never been any dogged drive for competition.
At a time when the government is intent on powering up the nation’s military, and the main platform for the next election is revising the pacifist Constitution, the kawaii culture of Harajuku is comforting.
These kids will never go to war.
They are good kids.
Maybe some adults are worried about the future of Japan because of freeters, apathy and diseducation, but these are good kids.