For a period in time, I was flying through Japan quite regularly on my way to Shanghai. It's true what they say about Japan: if there's one place where you're going to find any record, however rare, it's Tokyo.
That said, I never was able to find this De La Soul vinyl single, which was supposedly a promo single where they battle Parappa the Rapper on one side, and leave it blank on the other. I searched high and low for that record, and never did find it.
And now comes the muthafuckin' rub named Youtube: if there's going to be one place to beat Japan for rarities (and oddities), it's that site. And, as my luck seems to go for that record, alls I can find is this 30 second clip featuring De La and your ubiquitous Japanese rnb singer, Double:
The full-length video, of course, has since been removed. Goddamn!
That said, I did stumble across this De La rarity on my various travels, wherein they back up another Japanese rnb duo named "True Kiss Destination" on a track called "Victim," from around 1999:
There's no end to hip hop artists heading east to work on a Japanese-only release, and I can't begin to do the research to compile a definitive list. This next track is on here solely because I remember Jay used to prefer it to D'Angelo's Voodoo (that's stillcrazy, but heck, he used to bust out the Ralph Tresvant all the time too).
On this Toshi Kubota track, "Till She Comes," you might (read: should) recognize the drums - that's Questo, and the rest of the Roots crew (well, except for Black Thought; there's no sense in me posting that DJ Krush track, is there?) AND Larry Gold appear on the track (they produce one more track on the album, which also features production from Raphael Saadiq, of Toni Tone Tony/Lucy Pearl fame).
While we're on the Japanese kick, I don't seem to recall the DJ Krush/Toshinori Kondo album ever making it over to N. America except by import. It plays out in a similar way to that Bill Laswell/Miles Davis mix from around that time. I won't claim to be the biggest DJ Krush fan - no disrespect, but I still find it a little boring, but this track was a standout to me back in 96, though it's definitely dated now:
I found this track on an Ashley Beedle compilation that I found in a used CD bin in the middle of Shibuya (Lord, I wish I could still find my giant Africa medallion). From what I (hardly) remember, Son of Berzerk was one of the few productions that the Bomb Squad did outside of Public Enemy and Ice Cube, primarily because Flavor Flav was a member of its precursor, Townhouse 3, when he had met Chuck D:
I'll post odd shizz I found in HK when I was living there in another post.