'Flow" is considered the basic skill of an MC but if you asked any rapper to define it they'd probably have a hard time. It has something to do with cadence, alliteration, internal rhyme and tone; but in the end it's about conveying the impression that the rapper has total command of the words being spoken. This takes a lot of practice, and there aren't too many occupations where you can hone such skills.
One place where you can do it is on the radio. The popular Dirty South MC Ludacris first made an impression as a disc jockey on the Atlanta airwaves, so when he moved out in front of the turntables he was already an expert at flow. Moreover, he'd already created a persona that was fully formed: raunchy, funny, self-deprecating and totally fearless. There was a self-conscious cartoon quality to his first big single, "What's Your Fantasy?," which looked at dirty sex from both sides of the gender gap, and if Ludacris's female take made a lot of women roll their eyes, at least he had the guts to give it a go.
A lot of people didn't get the joke. He was picked on by conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly as being inappropriate when Pepsi hired him to do some ads, as if shilling for a soft drinks company were equivalent to being named ambassador to UNICEF. O'Reilly called him a "thug," which only proves he never listened to him. Ludacris is just a slave to his appetites, which makes him more like Bill Clinton than Manuel Noriega.
Ludacris, June 25, 26 at 7 p.m., Studio Coast, Shinkiba. Tickets 7,500 yen. For info, call Three Vases, (03) 5464-9099.