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Awich finds joy in feeling her growth

“Life is not always given so appreciate it”

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius [Photos Steven Vigar/Hiroaki Fukuda] | 20 Oct 2023

For a long time in Hip Hop’s first 50 years, female MCs were given the short end of the stick. This misogyny in the industry as well as in the lyrics is now finally fading away as a new batch of female MCs like Ice Spice, Glorilla, Flo Milli, Lil Simz, and SexyyRed are here kicking ass and taking no prisoners while wearing Manolo Blahnik stilettos.

Awich, the Okinawian MC whose name directly translates to Asian Wish Child, aims to be the Queen of modern Japanese Hip Hop. With a live show to kill for and a new album, The Union, out on October 25, she’s well on her way. October’s cover star sat down with LiFTED to talk about the hardships in life, performing live, and what she wants her legacy to be.

Hiroaki Fukudu

This year is the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. When did you notice Hip Hop? What got you into it? What were some of the first Hip Hop songs that you knew all the words to?

I got into Hip Hop when I heard 2Pac when I was 14 years old. What got me into Hip Hop was the fact that 2Pac had a creative way of making the world a better place. The first song I knew all the words to was ‘Ambitionz Az a Ridah.’

Your stage name Awich stands for Asian Wish Child. Could you please explain that a bit more in depth?

Asian wish child is the direct translation of my real name Akiko. My parents named me to mean that I am the child that Asia has wished for.

You had a tragic period in your life when you lost your husband. What has that period taught you about the challenges in life?

Life is not always given so appreciate it.

You’ve mentioned in a few interviews that during that rough period of dealing with grief, you quit music. What made you pick yourself back up?

Keeping a diary, and my father’s words, “Almost all Okinawans had lost our loved ones and we still lived. So you can, too.”

Awich 2016x1334

How do you balance being Japan’s Hip Hop Queen and a single mother?

Having a support system that shares the same dream and looks at a bigger picture about how our work can impact the world. Without them, nothing is possible. I couldn’t do this alone.

What is your daughter’s favorite song of yours? Why? What advice do you give your daughter when she is rapping?

‘Senno’ because she loves sarcasm. So she loves all my songs with a sarcastic point of view of the world. My advice for her is be yourself and own it.

How do you feel about the rise of female rappers in modern Hip Hop?

Love it, of course. It’s a great thing to be in this transitional time. This will be such a memory to look back at when I’m much older.

Awich hero 4 2016x1334

LiFTED caught your live show at Rolling Loud and you really brought the energy. How important is it for an MC to really be able to rock the mic and turn a crowd out, especially one that might not know the language you are rapping in?

It’s important to me because I just love performing live. Nothing excites me more than the feeling of connecting with people in real life. I feel it activates a very important place in my brain.

You’ve been doing collabs with a lot of Asian artists. Are there any MCs out there that you haven’t worked with yet that you are dying to get on a track with?

Too many to mention!

What is the legacy that you want to leave behind in Hip Hop?

Know yourself. Communicate with the world. And understand each other.

You have a new album coming out this month called The Union. Please tell us the process about making the album and what it means to you.

As my audience grows, my team grows, and my responsibility grows. So my process of making an album like The Union is a lot different than it used to be. Things are more precisely planned, very complicated, and sometimes it feels like it takes more than my mere intuition.

What’s been the same is me first knowing that my idea of the world becoming a better place is real. And that I can do it. As things get bigger and more complicated, I feel my growth. And it’s fun to feel that.