Music and dance have always come hand in hand in their truest form, holding no limits in breaking any form of boundaries. At the start of 2023, D.U.N.K. (DANCE UNIVERSE NEVER KILLED), a large-scale music and dance project was formed in partnership with renowned Japanese rapper and artist, SKY-HI, together with leading multi-platform entertainment powerhouse and ratings champion broadcaster, Nippon TV (Japan).
Initially held as a weekly TV program in February followed by a three-day showcase event in March 2023, both milestones of D.U.N.K. featured some of the best and brightest talents in Japan’s music and dance industry from SKY-HI, vocal and dance groups &TEAM, BALLISTIK BOYZ, BE:FIRST, BULLET TRAIN, DREAMS COME TRUE, GENERATIONS, and artists, Aile The Shota, Ayumu Imazu, REIKO, as well as dance and performance collectives, s**t kingz, to name a few.
The goal for D.U.N.K. is simple – Together with multiple vocal and dance groups and performers from various artist management groups and music labels, to transcend barriers and transmit from Japan to the world. With multiple collaborations among participating artists and dancers, and never-seen-before cypher dance finales rounding up each event day, the overwhelming success of D.U.N.K.’s debut has led to SKY-HI and Nippon TV’s recent announcement of the airing of weekly previews of the entire project on YouTube from this month.
SKY-HI shares, “Music and dance hold no boundaries. With the rapid changes in the world, we are no longer restricted by traditional ways, we strive towards experimenting, creating and presenting. D.U.N.K. was created as a new platform and format to represent what vocal and dance groups, dancers, and artists can do in and for our industry. The series has brought together some of the biggest names in the Japanese music industry and we are thrilled to be able to present this to the rest of the world.”
On embracing change and spearheading new opportunities to present to the world, SKY-HI adds, “As you may know, in Japan we have limited opportunities where vocal and dance groups from different labels or artist managements can collaborate and perform together across various venues. Now that it is available on YouTube with English subtitles, everyone can easily understand what we’ve been working towards. We wanted to create a unique and memorable experience together to give fans from around the world the opportunity to witness this incredible showcase and project. We also want to uplift and grow with the worldwide music and dance communities and encourage them to join us. This is a rare chance for international viewers to witness Japan’s new culture and see some of our top performers in action. We would like to invite everyone to tune in and enjoy the show. There will be a total of 10 episodes, uploaded weekly on Friday. Let’s make this a turning point in the history of the Japanese music and dance scene. I’m excited to be able to introduce D.U.N.K. as our new culture to the world.”
The first episode of D.U.N.K premiered on YouTube on 13 May 2023, Saturday evening. With English subtitles available, it features SKY-HI opening with his single performance with the same title, as well as collaborators, Japanese boyband BE:FIRST and multinational boyband, &TEAM. It also features backstage and behind-the-scenes conversations of both groups. A total of 10 episodes will be released every Saturday. These will feature exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and collaborative projects between the most exciting yet, diverse range of performers who are sure to captivate audiences both in Japan and around the world. This includes members of &TEAM, Ayumi Imazu, BALLISTIK BOYZ, BE:FIRST, BULLET TRAIN, GENERATIONS, s**t kingz, ShowMinorSavage, and TOKYO GEGEGAY, to name a few.
Find Episode #1 on D.U.N.K. YouTube Channel:
Watch the music video for SKY-HI’s ‘D.U.N.K.’ (Produced by. ☆Taku Takahashi (m-flo, block. fm)) and featuring SKY-HI, SOTA (BE:FIRST), Aile The Shota, Kensuke (BFQ), JUN (BFQ), Money (BFQ), TAK-YARD (BFQ), KAITA (Rht.), MASATO ($RAM HEADS), JUMPEI (YDK Apartment, avex ROYALBRATS), KooDa (YDK Apartment,avex ROYALBRATS), COTA, KAIRI, REN, and RYUNOSUKE:
SKY-HI reveals the potentiality of the Japanese music industry. His versatility comes through as the CEO of the management/label BMSG and as a producer. He also continues to create entertaining music: manipulating outstanding vocal skills, dancing, and producing beats and tracks, and not to mention his irresistible rap ability.
Mitsuhiro Hidaka (SKY-HI) debuted as a member of AAA in 2005 while he simultaneously started his solo career under the artist name SKY-HI. His appearances and performances as SKY-HI first took place in the underground scene in clubs and other venues in Tokyo, where he gradually achieved recognition and credibility in the hip-hop world.
SKY-HI debuted on a major label in 2013 and has released six solo albums thus far, including his latest album ‘THE DEBUT’.
He established the management/label company BMSG in 2020, taking the role of its CEO. He also created a boy band audition program, ‘THE FIRST’ that same year, which resulted in the formation of BE:FIRST. SKY-HI presented BE:FIRST to the Japanese music industry in 2021.
Nippon TV is Japan’s leading multi-platform entertainment powerhouse and ratings champion broadcaster, as well as owner of streaming giant Hulu in Japan. Over 90% of its content IP is fully owned by Nippon TV and the company has been active in bringing its content to the international market in the form of anime, ready-made programs, formats, and through co-production partnerships.