Music Japanese Soul
If you go to this site you will find a rare pop jewel by a Japanese singer named Tohsi Kubota. The track is called “Nothing But Your Love,” and it’s produced/remixed by the great and late Jay Dee. Kubota sings in perfect black English. In fact, when I first heard the song on a mix by the LA-based beat-builder Take, I thought the singer was a black female obediently following Grace Jones’ androgynous path. But the chorus caught me by surprise: “I’m not nothing.” Though sung with a black English twang (“nothaang”), the construction is not common to black or white English. We almost never say “I’m not nothing.” To utter such a thing is to create an impossible black hole in the sign system of our language. After Take informed me of the singer’s nationality during a chance meeting in Park City, I became obsessed with “Nothing But Your Love.” It offers so much to consider: trends in Japanese pop music; the strange inventions that occur when one language meets and interacts with another language; the globalization of black English (or black singing); and so on and so forth. Listen to the song and be amazed (as I’m) by our age of transnational pop and capital.