Tom Smith on one of Japanâ€™s collaboration-heavy rappers
SEAMO is the alias of Naoki Takada, a hip hop artist who shot to fame wearing a sombrero and dodgy tash, and still managed to be cool. It was 2006, and he featured alongside BENNIE K, a Japanese female duo highly influenced by Americaâ€™s urban music scene. His career was established almost instantly, and his follow up solo single â€˜Mata Aimashouâ€™ managed to chart in exactly the same position as â€˜A Love Storyâ€™, reaching the 14th spot. Not bad at all when you consider that he could barely peak in the top 50 chart before collaborating with the well-established BENNIE K girls.
â€˜Mata Aimashouâ€™ managed to sell upwards of two-million, and knocked about in the charts for 34 weeks, making the songâ€™s title (â€˜Letâ€™s Meet Againâ€™, in English) seem all the more potent. After a string of equally successful releases, it was only a matter of time until artists were knocking on SEAMOâ€™s door to feature on his tracks, instead of the other way around. Korean superstar BoA was one such artist keen to team up. She appeared as the guest vocalist on SEAMOâ€™s 2008 track â€˜Hey Boy, Hey Girlâ€™, while a different collaborations saw SEAMO record the track â€˜Honey Honeyâ€™ for the second series of xxxHOLiC with Râ€™nâ€™B (standing for rhythm and beauty, if her promotional team are to be believed) singer Ayuse Kozue.
Working on xxxHOLiC would also lead to SEAMOâ€™s path crossing with that of Shikao Suga , whose songs have appeared in every series of the CLAMP anime. The respected musician, joined by Anna Tsuchiya, recorded an exclusive track for SEAMOâ€™s collaboration album cheekily entitled â€˜S.ex. with TSUCHIYA ANNA and SUGA SHIKAOâ€™ â€“ a title which I hope I never ever have to repeat for as long as I shall live.
Being a closet anime and manga fan, SEAMO relished in the fact that his work was being used in anime series. In fact, when he was first establishing his musical career heâ€™d go by the name of SEAMONATER, inspired by the comedy manga strip Yuke!! Nangoku Ice Hockey-Bu and his favourite film, The Terminator. Thankfully, he decided (well, was more forced by the labelâ€¦) to lose the â€˜NATORâ€™ part of his name before adopting fame.
That path of fame would also lead him back to anime for a second time. His 12th single â€˜My ANSWERâ€™ would become the tenth ending to Naruto Shippuden, supplying the final song played out during the episodes found in Box Set 10 of the series.
The lyrics to the song couldnâ€™t fit any more perfectly into the world of Naruto. Its encouraging chorus goes â€˜even if you canâ€™t do it now, donâ€™t stress, donâ€™t give up. Just go at your own pace and have confidence in yourselfâ€™, itâ€™s almost as if the little orange jump-suited ninja-boy wrote it himself!
Naruto Shippuden: Box Set 10 is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment from 10 September.