The influence of Verbal in Japan is unquestionable and it was a pleasure for me to sit down and interview him and take his portrait for POST NEW. We talked about how he began to get interested in Hip-Hop to how m-flo started up and later the influence of NIGO and the international artists he came in to contact with while his style was another topic of conversation.
James Oliver: What inspired you to become an artist?
Verbal: I always loved doing music, at high school I used to dance, there was a big Hip Hop dance movement so I was into that. Also I was in a band at high school with Taku, my current partner from m-flo. Taku and I were playing at dance parties and competitions and even had a record deal offered to us when we were in high school. But this was back in 1992, 1993, way before any form of Hip Hop was on the Japanese charts, so I felt that it was not realistic to be a rapper and be successful. Besides, my parents were really against me pursuing music as a career. You know, I thought I was the best rapper in the world as a 17 year old kid… but I ended up going to Boston College and graduated with a Business and Philosophy degree and this really cemented a lot of my beliefs and gave me a direction further on in my music career. Back then I was thinking this isn’t what I want to do or anything but I realized that became a benefactor to my being today.
JO: Can you tell us the meaning of m-flo?
V: Initially I named the group Mediarite Flow… I was really into Company Flow back then. I wanted to put the word “flow” in there, because when you rap, you flow. I was just into Hip Hop and obviously there was hardly any Hip Hop music in the charts in Japan at the time, so I felt foreign in the industry. It was like we were coming from outer space and hitting planet earth and influencing the music scene so that is where the “Mediarite” (meteorite) idea came from. But then people thought Mediarite Flow was too long so we just shortened it down to m-flo.
Continue reading the interview here.