Dragon Ash (ドラゴンアッシュ, Doragon Ashu?) are a Japanese rock group led by rap mogul Kenji Furuya. They are an icon in Japan and were one of the first groups to popularize hip hop in Japan. They brought a western flavor to Japanese music and helped to turn rap music mainstream, with a mixture of reggae, rap, rap-rock, punk, Spanish, and R&B influences. Some of their best known songs include "Grateful Days", "Life Goes On", and "I Love Hip Hop". The group uses various samples, most notably from the famous American alternative rock group, The Smashing Pumpkins. These songs include "Cherub Rock", in which they sample the bass line from The Smashing Pumpkins song by the same name, and "Grateful Days" in which they sample the opening of "Today"; they also named the song "Siva" after the Pumpkins song.
Dragon Ash has gained some popularity outside Japan when the song Shizuka na Hibi no Kaidan Wo was used as the ending theme for the popular Japanese movie, Battle Royale. Kenji Furuya has also worked on several side projects in recent years, including being the frontman of Steady & Co., a Japanese hip hop and music production group consisting of himself, Bots, Ilmari of Rip Slyme, and Shigeo of SBK (Skebo King). In addition to Steady & Co., Furuya has also collaborated with other Japanese hip hop artists on the Mob Squad album and subsequent label.
Dragon Ash is also popular in lots of places around the globe. Not only did they have a huge influence on Japan, but they also are known mostly around Asia.
Kenji has stated in several interviews that the reason Dragon Ash started out as a pseudo-punk band was because, at the time, punk was popular in Japan, and his handlers felt that the hip hop image wouldn't sell. He has also noted that hip hop has always been first in his book, but he did what was necessary to become successful in the industry. Dragon Ash is a member of Mob Squad, which is an affiliation with the bands Source and Endive.
- Kenji "Kj" Furuya – vocals, guitar
- Ikuzo "Iküzöne" Baba – bass
- Makoto Sakurai – drums
- Bots – DJ, samples, joined in 1999
- Hiroki – electric guitar, joined in 2003
- Atsushi – dance, joined in 2003
- Dri-V – dance, joined in 2003