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Back in 2008, a beat-making competition called Goldfinger’s Kitchen was held in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. In each round, contestants had 15 minutes to chop and flip a given sample on an MPC sampler as the crowd watched. When the 15 minutes were up, the contestants played back what they had created to see whose beat rocked the crowd the most. As soon as Tomonobu Kanno’s off-kilter kicks and snapping snares blared out of the speakers, there wasn’t a head in the crowd that wasn’t bobbing.

“I was afraid that nobody would get my music,” remembers Kanno, who went by the moniker Budamunky back then. “I don’t think anybody in Japan made beats like mine at the time. Plus, I wasn’t really proud of the beat that I made that day. So I was ready to face defeat. It blew my mind that the crowd dug what I did.”

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