Here at JaK we like to take trips down memory lane for artists, shows or movies that we may have forgotten about over the years. For this particular article I had certainly forgotten about one of my all time favourite Japanese groups until suddenly a single word just flashed into my mind whilst trawling through YouTube and then the memory floodgates opened. That word was ‘Kansha’- the name of a song that was used as the 14th ending for the anime Bleach and a single of the group I wanted to talk about, RSP!
RSP (Real Street Project) were an interesting set up, to say the least. Debuting in 2006, they comprised of two female vocalists (Ai and Saki) and four street dancers. Although the dancers did not contribute anything to the music; solely dancing away in every PV and live performance, they were an integral part of the group so RSP was a six-member unit. Sadly, after my trip down memory lane I had discovered that the group split up in 2013 (they had only lasted seven years together) but for me the legacy still remains as one of the greats.
Below are the top picks of the songs that made them essential listening during my younger (university) days! (please bear in mind that these videos are a few years old now so the quality of them are not above 360p)
Kansha is the track that got me into RSP in the first place. It is a mellow, soothing track that always reminds me of summer and good times heading into central London to hang out with my convention friends. I first heard it as the closing track of the Bleach anime and I was immediately smitten by it. I ignored the visuals of the anime ending (as it featured characters that I was not too fond of in the show) and was able to appreciate the full song more.
Lyrically, it is a beautiful song. ‘Kansha’ translates to ‘Gratitude’ and it is basically a song about being thankful to those around you. The PV actually made me cry the first time I saw it where a little boy is watching his elder sister get married in a traditional Shinto wedding and he breaks down when he gives his speech demanding that his new brother in law looks after his sister. RSP themselves are guests at the wedding, enjoying the ceremony and providing the soundtrack. It’s really beautiful song- works well listening outdoors in warm weather surrounded by friends.
A Street Story
This was their first single, the one that they debuted with. Looking back on it, it’s a rather cheap production (and the rap is rather laughable) but this song has a warm spot in my heart as it used to be my pre-club/workout tune. The PV showcases the moves of the dancers more and you kind of have a feel of what the group was initially marketed to be when they first debuted. I am sad that the quality of this video is so low and it is very hard to find anywhere on the internet because the quality of this video does not do it justice!
No major story to the PV- just performing around various set pieces, very typical for a debut but nevertheless nice to look at, particularly for the dancing.
Lifetime Respect- Onna Hen
This single was a follow up to Miki Douzan’s earlier reggae infused single of the same name (what’s nice about this is that the ending of the first song flows seamlessly into the intro of RSP’s version). This was a more mellow R’n’B ‘reply song’ about love that had an interesting mix. Though not the straight up dance track that A Street Story was, this still had a steady enough beat to showcase the flow and rhythmic control of the four dancers in the duration of the PV. As such, I personally prefer the dancing in this video than their first single simply understated yet impressive.
The song itself sits right in between the chilled out feel of Kansha and the pumping dance track that was A Street Story; something that you would still happily dance to (I guess if others joined in with you) but also suited to something like a nice stroll in a park or a country drive. I am beginning to realise that a lot of RSP’s singles are suited to outdoor activities!
So those are my main favourites! If you had never heard about RSP before I hope this gives you the opportunity into looking into a key part of Japanese R’n’B or if you remember them and had simply forgot about their music (like I did until recently) I hope this post took you down a nice trip down memory lane. Spring is here now so by all means, enjoy the longer evenings with some mid noughties Jpop!