FEATURE | 24, Dec, 2019

CROSS INTERVIEW between KOHH×KEKRA×CHIKASHI SUZUKI[English]

Japanese rapper KOHH who is famous not only in Japan but also overseas. And KEKRA is one of the most notable rappers in France in recent years. When KEKRA came to Japan with a deep respect for Japanese fashion and culture, a photo session with two rappers representing Japan and France was realized. “Them magazine” No.27 features a fashion story by “Maison Margiela”, a favorite of two people with their own styles. Here, after the shooting, we will deliver a crosstalk by the three parties, including the parent of the photographer who took the project.

Chikashi Suzuki (S):Have you met before?

KEKRA(Ke):No, We never met in Paris, unfortunately. I stay in my area in Paris Because my entourage is people who I grew up with, which means, it allows me to stay in myself. So I don’t get to meet other people who are coming from abroad, expect if I visit other countries. When I come to Tokyo, I get to meet a lot of new people.

S:How about you, KOHH?

KOHH(Ko):I don’t also get to meet new people from outside as I mostly stay in my area Oji. I’ve been hanging out with my brothers or friends. and I am also doing 「Dogs」.

Ke:Can we go to the shop tonight?

Ko:Anytime.

S:Where are you raised in Paris?

Ke:I grow up in suburb of Paris. In Paris you have different district by numbers. And I grow up in 92.
It’s “banlieu”, outside of center. Same as Oji.

S:Which part do you like in Paris.

Ke:I grow up in suburb of Paris. In Paris you have different district by numbers. And I grow up in 92.
It’s “banlieu”, outside of center. Same as Oji. I like my area. Now they are changing, before it was like suburbs but now they have a project in France, it’s called “The Great Paris”. So they wanna put the suburbs, put it inside Paris. The biggest business center of Europe is next where we live. The people, briefcases and skyscrapers…we couldn’t have those stuff but we see them every day, on a daily basis.

S:When did you get to know 《Margiela》?

Ke:It was like 7 or 8 years ago. And i was young and in my neighborhood, many people was wearing《Maison Margiela》. The problem was that after that the police were catching people wearing 《Margiela》 in my neighborhood, whenever they see 《Margiela》, they know it’s stolen. So they get to the police. That’s how I found about Margiela and I went to the store and I start wearing it because I like the stuff. when I found out it the concept was secret, I got to like that, and I enjoyed much more.

S:Were you already wearing mask by that time?

Ke:No, because I wasn’t doing my music at that moment. So this type of life and (I hope )have a better life for my family and people around me. I was wearing the mask but not for music, for not good stuff.

S:How about you KOHH?

Ko:It was 5 or 6 years ago for me. The ex-girlfriend that I was dating at that time told me about that. I wasn’t buying any for a while but I first item that I got was a secondhand one. I got a pair of damaged sneakers with tapes.

Ke:My first item was pair of brown suede「Replica」. And after that I bought denim shirt and leather jacket.

S:When I was working in Paris, Lots of Rock musicians worn 《Margiela》. And now Hip Hop become rebel music and Rapper try to do something new and innovative with music. So you are attracted to the Maison which plays same role in fashion. Are your friends around you wearing 《Margiela》?

Ko:Well… Margiela is like the god for us like the certain thing…

S:You told me that the first piece that you bought from Margiela was a secondhand though, you like current Margiela pieces that John Galliano is designing now right? Especially something like tailoring or genderless pieces.

Ko:I think I just happened to know that because John Galliano is the designer now.

S:You were wearing women’s clothing from the beginning and that’s your style right?

Ko:I don’t really draw borders between men’s and women’s when it comes to fashion and that has not changed since I got interested in fashion. I see them as clothes and not categorize really. All I care about is whether it’s wearable for me or not. I don’t really refer any styles. I just follow my sense to pick clothes and wear them.

Ke:Yes you don’t have to think about it. You just wear whatever you want.

Ko:Just sizing matters.

Ke:My principle is just “comfortable”. I want to be cozy.

Ke:Me too.

S:Both of you guys seem like not having preconception… For KOHH, like it really doesn’t matter if it’s a women’s or men’s. If you like that piece you would wear it. You know it’s same as you meet this strange but you feel like you can get along, you can talk naturally from the beginning. The old generations tend to judge as their instinct but I don’t feel any of that from you guys. KOHH is doing it unconsciously right? Are you also too KEKRA?

Ke:I think so. Because I sometimes travel, I have family abroad, and I have a cousin in London. First time when I went to London, I was 14 years old, so the style over there impacted me a lot. Because it still has similar attitude wit Paris style but no fully. It opened my mind.
And even Japanese fashion was impacted me a lot. Lots of brand in Japan, style is really precise. Like the way Japanese people look at fashion, it’s really precise. I was shocked! Because every detail counts and I like that. Because when you passionate about clothes, for any other domain, any other stuff, like not only music, everything, when you love it and you do it with your heart, you’ll precise. You’ll do it, you care about every detail, I like that.

S:You do like Japan so much. Kohh were in Paris the other day, where is your favorite area?

Ko:I don’t know where it is but it’s like the plaza…

Ke:I know. It’s the 10. and Lots of Barbers?

Ko:Yeah!

Ke:What did you do in Paris?

Ko:I was checking some showrooms and just having lunch/dinner and going shopping, even barbershop with my friends.

Ke:Are you coming back to Paris next year?

Ko:I’m planning to go in January.

Ke:Come to see me! with your friends. Do you have some rapper friends in Paris?

Ko:Not really…but do you know 404 human? He is a producer.

Ke:CHAPO?He is friend of mine!

S:KOHH you shot your music video in Paris right? How’s KEKRA?

Ke:5or6 already. First two videos were 3 years ago. After that next year I came again and shot another two. And I started to shoot yesterday for this time.

S:You guys have been crossing on any levels and finally crossed here today then.

 

KOHH
Born April 22nd 1990 in the town of Ouji in Kita Ward Tokyo City. In November 2012, as no-name artist he released his first piece “YELLOW T△PE”. In July 2014, he released his 2nd album “MONOCHROME”. This was his first album that was released and turned heads when it was released due to the sequence of releasing the 2nd produced album first.In January 2015, he released his 1st Album “Kuchinashi”. On October 28th 2015, he released his 3rd album “DIRT”. In June 2016, he released his 4th album “DIRT II”

KEKRA
a rapper from Hauts-de-Seine (92) who never shows his face and whose music mixes nonchalant flows and melodic virtuosity. KEKRA is named for backward-slang of ‘Crack’. The artist’s productivity seems unrestrained after having released 5 albums in 3 years.

CHIKASHI SUZUKI
Born in 1972. Started his career as a photographer with『Purple Magazine (France)』 in 1998. Currently shoots for international and domestic magazines, as well as commercial photos for 《ISSEY MIYAKE》,《 TOGA》,《CEBIT》,《GUCCI》 etc.