Up and Coming Artist: G Yamazawa


Lauren Rhodes

Ever since I have heard “North Cack,” by G Yamazawa featuring Joshua Gunn and Kane Smego, I have not been able to get it out of my head. The song is so catchy and it just a lyrical ode to G Yamazawa’s hometown of  Durham, North Carolina, and I respect that and give credit where credit is due.

The very first words out of his mouth on the song are “It’s the North Cack baby I’m a boss Carolina barbecue sauce, with the slaw…” I mean if that doesn’t just scream he’s a lyrical wordsmith, I don’t know what does.

I was first introduced to G Yamazawa when I came across a poetic trio he did with Pages Matam and Elizabeth Acevedo. The poem was called Unforgettable, and as the title indicates it’s hard to forget and even if I was given a chance to forget it, I wouldn’t want to go.

If you haven’t heard and or seen some of his work, I suggest you take the time to do so now. I promise you; you won’t regret it. He smoothly rhymes and ebbs and flows with grit and debonair as he melds poetry and hip-hop like they were always meant to be together.

G Yamazawa talks about his ethnic background so smoothly and eloquently. It’s like a moth to a flame; it’s instinctive. His lyrical flow is like a stew made from the finest of ingredients. His works of art, whether they’re poems, raps and or freestyles, are lived-in like a pair of worn jeans. He breathes new life into every work of art he creates. He is unapologetic and unafraid to say what’s on his mind while celebrating his heritage/ethnic background as well. Trust me, his poems hit hard and rock you to your core as much as his raps do.

He is also an award-winning slam poet who has performed all over the nation including places such as Dubai and Europe. He discusses and critiques inequity and racism based on his experiences growing up Japanese-American in the south–Durham, North Carolina, to be exact. To him, in his own words per NBC News, poetry allowed him to share his story the way he wanted to, and it made him remember that he never needed money.

Growing up in the south without an Asian-American community forced him in a way to find his identity elsewhere, he would find it somewhere along the lines of 90’s hip-hop before he even put pen to paper to write poetry. To him, “Hip-hop not only felt American, but it also made me feel secure and undeniably gave me a surplus of confidence and power. You gain power from that self-encouragement, from your voice.”

You can see that influence in his songs and poetry in the way that he performs much like how a rapper performs. He utilizes his whole body almost like his words, and lyrical flow is enhanced and come alive through hand movements and swaying and facial gestures. He released his self-titled EP this past February, and every song on it is so dope and makes you want to bop your head to it and blast it from your car speakers. His art tells a story as it weaves and stitches together two rhythmically pieces of art that could stand alone, but together shine bright like fireworks across the sky. G Yamazawa isn’t running away from his background, rather he uses it to infuse his music and poetry with nuggets of wisdom and truth which makes his ingenious work all the more sweeter. He deserves a spot on your playlist so give him a listen.