– Not Not Me

Last year, MC Itsuka and DJ Gonchi held a mock, jokey press conference to announce they quit their office job to commit full-time to their group  Their decision turned out for the better with their major-label debut, Not Not Me, showing a mature next step while keeping their playful side alive. The singles so far, “#hashdark” and “Like It,” have flattered the confident mic presence of Itsuka. But it’s the title track that sums up the true strength of the duo’s latest album.

For the beat of “Not Not Me,” outside producer Koichi Tsutaya borrows from the Diplo and Skrillex-produced hits for Justin Bieber’s Purpose. Itsuka responds to the mellow, plush beat with a more somber set for words. “Optimistic thoughts are FAKE,” she sings. She keeps her voice at a hush, but come time for her rap, she goes all in to bare her soul:  “I’m starting to forget what’s important to me, what can I do?

“Everyone goes ‘I’m not like that, my case is not the same’ when it comes to, say, cheating, but whenever I hear that, I want to tell them, no, it’s not different at all,” Itsuka said, explaining the meaning behind the title, “Not Not Me.” “I understand the want to deny the truth, but really, they might know they are doing the same thing, so by denying it, maybe they want to draw out some hope it is something else.” explore this identity crisis between the real and fake throughout Not Not Me, and the title track wraps up the album as its final song: “A dream world, now do it more, you need to say bye bye,” they sing as their final words. The duo worried without their office jobs, they no longer had a source of inspiration. But here, they prove they can only get more resonant as they look for something broader.


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