Lil Kawaii was the most influential rapper in the world. His influence spread from his hometown of Tokyo, Japan all the way to New York City. Interviews with him were published in publications as diverse as an underground Japanese music blog and major Japanese newspapers such as The Asahi Shimbun and The Mainichi. Music videos featuring Lil Kawaii have accumulated millions of views on YouTube and Vimeo. In 2012, a music video for one of Lil Kawaii’s songs—a song that has been covered by numerous other artists—got over 20 million views on YouTube and Vimeo combined. In total, there are more than 50 music videos featuring him that were uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo before he “disappeared” in 2015.
Where did Lil Kawaii come from and where did he go?
Lil Kawaii was first featured on YouTube in 2010, but he only “exploded” in popularity in late 2012 and early 2013. In March 2013, he got over 20 million views on YouTube alone – and he was an underground artist in Japan, a country that has very little connection to Western pop culture. He had no connections to the American hip hop industry or the “urban” music industry in general – and he was not a fluent English speaker either. The “real” Lil Kawaii disappeared from YouTube in June 2015, and there has been no news on whether he is alive or dead ever since.
So who exactly was Lil Kawaii?
Lil Kawaii started rapping in secret when he was 13 years old. At the time, he was a self-described “weeaboo” who spent a lot of time reading about Western culture and making fan art. He was also a big fan of Death Grips, a “noisy” underground hip hop group from Sacramento, California. While Kawaii was very interested in and inspired by Western culture, he was too shy to make his own art. When he was 19 years old, he moved to New York for a few months to study English, and this changed his life. He came to New York with a dream of making music, and he eventually found the courage to do so.
Lil Kawaii’s music
Kawaii’s lyrics are a combination of “weeaboo culture” and “90s hip hop.” His songs are often about anime, superheroes, and nostalgic childhood memories. He also raps about his struggles with mental illness, loneliness, and the stress of being an independent artist in a capitalist society. Kawaii is most often described as a “trap” rapper, but his music and lyrics are unique and difficult to categorize. Kawaii’s “trap” is different from other artists because it is less “gangster” and more “weeaboo.”
His music and lyrics
Kawaii’s music and lyrics are very artistic and poetic. His lyrics often sound like a mix between a poem and a stream of consciousness expression of his feelings. His lyrics are also often very “Japanese” and “weeaboo” even if they are about topics that are universal. For example, in his song “Ame wa niji ga shi te shi te shi te shi te” (Rain is falling), he talks about his struggles with depression and suicidal feelings. However, he does this with a poetry inspired by old Japanese haiku poems. While Kawaii’s lyrics are often very personal, they are also almost like a diary entry. Kawaii has said that his lyrics are like a “diary of what [he] is feeling at the moment” and that they are not “really meant to be heard by other people.”
Why was Lil Kawaii so influential?
Lil Kawaii was so influential because he was “weeaboo” in a very postmodern way. He dwelled in “weeaboo culture” but he also subverted it at the same time. Kawaii was a very authentic “weeaboo” who loved anime, superheroes, and “Western” culture very much. He was also an incredibly talented artist and musician.
In an era of “fake” “weeaboo” who try to be edgy, cool, and ironic, Kawaii was authentic and sincere. Kawaii’s story is also very inspirational.
The “Disappearance” of Lil Kawaii and the Aftermath
In June 2015, a strange video titled “Goodbye” appeared on Kawaii’s YouTube account. In the video, Kawaii looked very tired, weak, and upset. He said in Japanese that he was ending his “career as a musician” because he was “too weak” and “too sensitive” to be a musician. He apologized for disappointing his fans and promised to “disappear from the internet” forever. Kawaii also said that he wanted to “disappear” because he was “tired of writing songs [about] wanting to die.”
Kawaii’s disappearance got a lot of attention in the Japanese media because he was a very popular artist in Japan. Most articles wondered what had happened to him and speculated that he had committed suicide. There were even people who started a “self-help” movement hoping to find Kawaii and “help him get better.”
4 Takeaways from the Life and Death of Lil Kawaii
- The importance of authenticity: Many “weeaboo” artists are “fake” and try to be edgy, cool, and ironic. Kawaii was authentic and sincere, and this authenticity allowed him to be a powerful artist.
- The importance of vulnerability: Kawaii was “too sensitive” and “too weak” to be a musician. He was tired of writing songs about wanting to die, and he wanted to disappear from the internet. However, this “weakness” and “sensitivity” was what made Kawaii so authentic. It made his music and lyrics authentic, sincere, and powerful.
- The importance of community: Kawaii created an online community of like-minded people and fans who supported him and each other. This community was crucial in helping Kawaii become an artist.
- The importance of art, fandom, and expression: Lil Kawaii’s art was influenced by “weeaboo culture” and “90s hip hop.
Lil Kawaii is the most influential rapper in the world. His influence spread from his hometown of Tokyo, Japan all the way to New York City. Lil Kawaii’s lyrics are a combination of “weeaboo culture” and “90s hip hop.” His music is unique because it is less “gangster” and more “weeaboo.”
Kawaii is an authentic “weeaboo” who loves anime, superheroes, and “Western” culture very much. Kawaii’s life and works are very inspirational.