It’s funny how life often takes us on the paths we least expect, no matter how set we think we are in what we want to do.
A case in point is the duo, m-flo!
We saw them set the stage ablaze at a-nation earlier this year alongside other acts like Wagakki Band and Ayumi Hamasaki.
But there’s much more to this awesome-twosome than meets the eye –
Comprised of Rapper/MC Verbal and DJ Taku Takahashi, the 2 met during their days at an International School.
Hitting off instantly and forming a quick friendship, the two would perform freestyle at many parties, before spending extended amounts of time in the US (Boston and Los Angeles) where they would each get further influenced by hip-hop culture.
Their substantial times living in America have made both Verbal & Taku extremely fluent in English! (Photo: m-flo Facebook)
Verbal was actually skeptical on the viability of a full-time career as a musician and had turned down several offers from record labels prior to his return to Japan.
After some encouragement from a friend who believed that a single the duo had produced together with vocalist and acquaintance, LISA, was good enough, the group made their official debut in 1998 with the single ‘Been So Long’.
Following the massive success of ‘Been So Long’, m-flo went on to produce a bevy of additional albums. Like many things in life however, nothing ever stays the same and m-flo have likewise, gone through many changes of their own.
The original line up with ex-vocalist, LISA (Photo: https://mirror.enha.kr/wiki/m-flo)
From their image to their sound and even their line up (LISA parted ways with them in 2002), m-flo has managed to overcome many obstacles and evolving their art in the process!
So there’s a staggering amount of material to work with here and you might be asking me “where the heck do I start?!”.
‘Been So Long’, their first major hit single!
‘L.O.T. (Love Or Truth)’, another single with LISA from Planet Shining
For fans of a more R&B/Hip-Hop/Underground sound, the first 2 albums, Planet Shining and EXPO EXPO should be up your alley.
‘Prism’ (from EXPO EXPO) saw m-flo starting to dabble in more electronic sounds!
Not only responsible for ‘starting it all’, Planet Shining definitely has the rawest sounds of the bunch, with hard raps mixed with LISA’s smooth vocals. EXPO EXPO on the other hand provides hints of a more electronic and eclectic vibe for good variety.
If you’re new to the sounds of R&B or rap in general, Astromantic, Beat Space Nine and Cosmicolor are easier ways for ‘newbies’ to get acquainted with m-flo.
‘Summertime Love’ with Ryohei Yamamoto & Emi Hinouchi!
Dubbed the “M-Flo Loves…” series, these 3 inter-connected albums have m-flo performing songs with a multitude of guest artistes from all genres and even countries!
‘Miss You’ with Ryohei Yamamoto & Melody from Astromantic remains as one of m-flo’s most popular songs!
Dragon Ash, Chemistry, Monday Michiru, Crystal Kay, Namie Amuro and even overseas sensations like BoA all contribute their talents to this massive pool of audio awesomeness. It’s easy to see why this series of albums remains as some of their most popular!
If you’re an appreciator of more Electronic Dance Music (EDM) styled sounds, m-flo recent albums Square One, Neven and Future Is Wow are perfect.
‘Young & Restless’ with MNDR – a much more electronic/dance-based tune
A significant departure from their previous works, this trio of albums features much more in the way of hard beats, electronic vibes, and just all around dance-heavy tracks that just happen to blend vocals and rap as well.
‘All I Want Is You’, featuring Minami from Cream!
These albums also feature much more obscure (but still talented!) acts from around the world, but still include familiar faces like Minami from Cream and Ayumi Hamasaki herself!
Not content to rest on their laurels, both Verbal and Taku are also busy doing solo work such as Verbal’s multiple collaborations with other artistes, and Taku’s producing and music directing for various projects.
m-flo has defied all odds and conventions, and continues to rock the stage after over 15 years! (Photo: m-flo Facebook)
With all this material, it’s mind blowing when one realises that m-flo has been groovin’ it up for more than 15 years!
Always mixing things up and evolving, it’s easy to see why m-flo continues to be popular and relevant till today.
Won’t you step into the ‘Flo?
All videos: m-flo Official Youtube Channel
m-flo’s Official Website: www.m-flo.com