In case you’ve never heard the term “weeaboo” before, it’s generally used to describe a white person so infatuated with Japanese culture that they become a laughing stock to their peers. Typical traits associated with a weeaboo include only a surface level, superficial understanding of Japan gleaned through anime/manga/games, an obsession with learning Japanese and/or moving to Japan, and dressing in what could be described as stereotypical clothing (kimono and sandals) — the kind you would see someone wearing in a movie to identify them without saying a word. It implies the person being addressed would jump out of their skin and into someone else’s from Japan if such a thing was even possible. Essentially it’s implied that a weeaboo is a clown both here and abroad, having no respect in either culture, forever relegated to existing without country or identity of any kind.
What the term fails to address is the more complex dynamic involved in being set adrift from your roots in the first place. If you grow up in an environment where conforming to a strict set of cultural rules is not only expected but religiously enforced, the smallest deviation from the norm results in one being ostracized, shunned by the very group they are supposed to belong to. “Really there’s no place I belong” says DEMONDICE on Hazy Skyscraper. I shouldn’t make this so personal, but I hear those words and I know how it feels. Being called a weeaboo isn’t so different from being called a wigger. If you don’t fit in with your peers to begin with, then they start mocking you and calling you names, the response is to either abandon your interests or rebel and push back against conformity even harder.
“Let’s go down the list of every lyricist I hate” quips DEMONDICE on “wannabe,” but she might as well be saying “let’s go down the list of people who call me a poseur.” It’s not surprising if you search for “worst female rapper” you can find her name on somebody’s list. Everybody hates the weeaboo. There’s one problem — she’s not worse than Kreayshawn. I’ve listened to her flow on “Kakigori Galaxy Astronaut” and there’s no question she can spit. In fact I’d say she has mastered all of the basics. She adjusts her flow to the tempo, her vocal tone is melodic without being AutoTuned, she puts thought into every word, and she weaves complex poetical rhyme structures into lines. She doesn’t just rap A-B-A-B. DEMONDICE can rap A-A-A-B-A-A, B-A-A-A-C-A, A-C-C-C-C-A, B-A-B-B-C-A effortlessly. The only thing I’m not a fan of is when she starts singing on “Soundless.” It’s not her forte.
It seems to me that DEMONDICE is probably an easy target for a lot of people. She’s very obviously a white girl and apparently her real name is Karen too. Wow. The jokes practically write themselves. It also did not escape this reviewer’s attention that she may have had a problematic history with casually using the N word on social media. I’m not giving her a free pass on that and no one should. If your sole gripe is “this Karen is a fucking weeb” though it might be worth taking a deeper look. Her interest in Japanese culture and society passed superficial a long time ago. She lives in Japan, she speaks the language, and nothing about her music suggests a lack of respect. Due to a cultural hostility toward foreigners she may be resigned to being a gaijin to some degree, but she’s also not giving up or giving in no matter what people say about her — here OR there. I have to respect that if only because I know exactly what it feels like to never give up on your passion and live life on your own terms.