YouTube Japan Hip-Hop Content Opportunity Analysis™ 2019-2022

July 8, 2022

Content Opportunity Methodology

  1. Measure & Categorize. Sample a large number of social posts to find ones that are significantly outperforming the average.
  2. Identify Top Themes. Identify the themes that are resonating most with the audience by sorting the themes by their aggregated performance metrics.
  3. Identify a Benchmark. Identify content themes that are performing above and under an average benchmark for the industry based on views & engagements.
  4. Identify Opportunities. Look at the data and find the content themes that are resonating with the audience based on a set of top creators.
  5. Repeat For Each Platform. Repeat the analysis for every platform that matters to your brand and audience to find platform-specific opportunities.

YouTube Content Bucket Definitions

  • One-Take Performance: Artists performing a song recorded in a single-take in a white studio with a microphone. 
  • Rap Battle: Top rappers battling it out on stage with freestyle raps incorporating boasts, insults and wordplay to see who has the best verses. 
  • Life Lesson & Stories: Artists share their life experiences and the lessons they've learned in front of a recurring colour blocked backdrop.
  • One Question Prompt: Fun and short clips taken from long-form interviews of artists answering specific questions about themselves and Hip-Hop.
  • 10 Things: A series by GQ that invites artists to share 10 things they can’t live without.
  • Rapstar Clips: Clips from ABEMA’s reality competition show, “Birth of Lapstar”, featuring rappers performing on stage for a chance to win a competition.
  • Cultural Mashup: Videos mashing up North American popular hits with Japanese Hip-Hop songs.
  • Sample Challenge: Content creators filming themselves throughout the day while they capture everyday sounds to sample in music they make.
  • Interview: Various unique long-format interviews where artists answer questions about themselves and their music.  
  • Hip-Hop x Sneakers: Artists discuss their favourite sneakers or pick out a pair to wear.
  • Dawg Diner Club:  A series of videos in which artists join 漢 a.k.a. GAMI for dinner and conversations about Hip-Hop and their lives.
  • IN THA HOOD: A video series showcasing the production sites, hangouts, and homes of rappers and beat makers. 
  • Live Studio Performance: Performances by artists in a studio with live accompaniment or by themselves.
  • Pre-Performance Moments: Short clips from artists before they perform their one-take on The First Take series.  

Content buckets that had the highest average views & engagement in the Japanese hip-hop space include:

Good performing content opportunities for the Japanese hip-hop audience on YouTube include:

Substandard performing content opportunities for the Japanese hip-hop audience on YouTube include:

Low performing content opportunities for the Japanese hip-hop audience on YouTube include:

1. One-Take Performance

The First Take is a Japanese video series in which artists get one shot at recording a song in a white studio with a microphone. During the one-shot, artists are instructed to treat the filming as a live performance. This segment averaged at 14M total views and engagements (26x more than the benchmark). 

Tactics to Implement:

  • Intro: The First Take includes 1-2 minutes before the artists begin performing with no music as they get settled in the studio. 
  • Subtitles: The First Take performance videos feature subtitles in both English and Japanese to appeal to a broader audience in the hip-hop scene.
  • Premieres: The First Take utilizes YouTube premieres for its full performances, allowing viewers to watch and experience the new video together in real-time.
  • Segments: This video is segmented into chapters for the viewer to navigate the performance easily.

Content Opportunities: The one-take idea creates a sense of tension and excitement that comes usually when artists perform live. Audiences get to experience their talents and performances without any editing or do-overs.



2. Rap Battle

Rap Battle videos feature various formats of MCs battling it out on a stage with freestyle raps, in which they boast, insult and play with words to see who has the best verses.

Tactics to Implement:

  • Content Format: Top videos showcase rap battles hosted on a stage in front of a crowd. These videos use various shots from the event, including wide-angle shots of the crowd, close-ups of performers and POV of the MC being battled.
  • Video Title: Rap battles use robust titles with a mix of Japanese and English to help rank organically on YouTube. They also ensure to include the performance year in the title to keep it relevant for viewers.

Content Opportunities: Rap battle videos were extremely popular within the competitive set, generating 52% of the total views and engagements. Consider hosting live rap battles, utilizing real-time features such as YouTube Premiere and sharing footage from the various rounds on your channel. 



3. Life Lesson & Stories

Short snippets from Neet’s interviews with artists sharing the lessons they've learned in life and other untold stories from their pasts. Top videos include DELTA 9 KID discussing his incarceration, SILENT KILLA JOINT’s sharing his worst trip and Tohji sharing cherished wisdom from his old roommate.

Tactics to Implement:

  • Length: Top performing videos in this segment range at about 2 minutes in length.
  • Q&A:  Video clips use snippets from longer interviews and focus on a single main question with additional follow-up questions regarding that original topic.

Content Opportunities: Hip-Hop (or more specifically, Gangsta Rap) has been closely associated with criminal behaviour and drug use since its inception, which is part of the genre’s allure. With Japan having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, the top videos offer fans a glimpse into this alternative lifestyle and provide insight behind their lyrics. 



4. One Question Prompt

Fun interview clips asking artists questions about themselves and hip-hop.

Tactics to Implement:

  • Video Length: Top videos average at 1:56 minutes in length.
  • Green Screen: Similar to The First Take, Neet's artist features are very simple. Videos feature just the artist and a green screen in front of the camera, allowing the viewer to focus on what they're saying. 
  • Repurposing: Neet breaks up clips from long-form artist interviews into smaller segments that feature just a few questions and answers. 

Content Opportunities:

  • Authenticity: Videos showcase the artist's personality and life outside of hip-hop. Viewers are looking to get to know their favourite artists on a personal level. Repurpose short clips from other content that showcase a different side of the artist.
  • Asking the Right Questions: Questions that generated the most views included asking artists about their skills outside of rapping and how much money they make.



Viral Videos:

These videos were omitted from their content buckets as ‘viral’ outliers for exceeding 3x the views and engagements of their respective benchmarks.

Rap Battle

Length:Viral rap battle videos range from 3 minutes to 29 minutes. The top two were the longest at 13 minutes and 29 minutes, respectively. 

Content: Four of the five viral rap battle videos were hosted by 凱旋MCbattle (Gaisen MC Battle). The top two videos featured the final rounds from the 2020 Gaisen MC Battle East-West Winter Nojin and the 2019 ADRENALINE battle.






10 Things

Video Series: 10 Things is a video series by GQ in which artists explain their top ten things they can’t live without. 

Content: Top replayed moments include when the artist engaged with the items he was sharing as his essentials.



Tactics: Video Series: GQ STREET STORIES is a video series which focuses on different aspects of Japanese street culture, including skateboarding, hip-hop, tattoos, DJs and more. Hip-Hop DNA PANEL is a video series with over 160 videos featuring a traditional interview format with MC 渡辺 志保 asking various Japanese hip-hop artists questions about their music and lives. 

Break Up Content: The two viral Hip-Hop DNA PANEL videos were a two-part series from an interview with the rap group NAMEDARUMA (舐達麻). 




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