Anime Underground
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16 Rappers You Didn't Realize Love Anime

Updated April 17, 2020 7.6k votes 1.9k voters 80.4k views16 items

There's an anime fan inside everyone. Sure, it may seem hard to imagine, but that famous actor you're watching on the big screen or that popular artist you're listening to on Spotify is probably a big anime fan like you. The hip hop world, in particular, is home to some of the biggest anime fans in the music industry. However, that's not really a big surprise, as anime and manga resonate strongly with the African American community. In this list of hip hop artists, you'll see how anime influenced the personal lives and musical work. 

Ready to have your mind blown? Here are 16 rappers you didn't realize love anime. Want more shocking anime facts? Make sure to check out 15 celebrities who are surprisingly into anime

  • Frank Ocean hides his love for anime in his music. "I got, I got (Anime on the screen)," Ocean sings in the song "Hell." The 2012 album Channel Orange featured even more anime references in its track list of 17 songs.

    One that stands out the most is this shout out to one of Dragon Ball Z's most famous villains: “This great grey matter/ Sensei replied, 'What is your woman? / Is she just a container for the child?' / That soft pink matter / Cotton candy, Majin Buu."

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    Richie Branson

    Photo: ZachBrenner / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Richie Branson built his rapping empire thanks to his gratifying love of anime. He composed free-to-download anime inspired hip-hop albums, such as #OtakuTuesdays and "The Wing Zero EP," an album based on Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.

    Branson is also a fan of Toonami and wrote the "Bring Toonami Back" anthem, as well as performed "#ToonamisBackBitches" when the block made its return to Cartoon Network.

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  • Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    One look at the 2014 music video for "It Girl" makes Pharrell Williams' passion for anime crystal clear. The animated music video not only features constant references to anime harems and visual novel dating games, but the video itself was produced by famous Japanese designer Takashi Murakami.

    Williams and Murakami teamed up again for an animated remix video of "Jellyfish Eyes," which has an anime version of Williams dancing alongside Vocaloid performer Hatsune Miku.

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    Ro Ransom

    Video: YouTube

    The Harlem rapper Ro Ransom knows exactly how to express his anime love with ease in his music. The song "Jayex Let The Beat Build" features a direct Yu-Gi-Oh! reference in the lyric "She got blue eyes, does that make her a white dragon?"

    While "Leap of Faith" makes a nod to Soul Eater with the lyric, "Two girls with me like I'm Death the Kid." He even asked for anime recommendations on his Facebook.

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