Colombian superstar J Balvin has made a name for himself by transcending borders, both of the national and musical variety.
So after his headlining set at this year’s Summer Sonic fest in Tokyo, the Latin pop star stuck around to collaborate with the pioneering Japanese hip-hop trio, M-Flo — which resulted in their new song, “Human Lost.”
Recorded in Japanese, English and Spanish, the intrepid new EDM-and-B track teases their upcoming anime film of the same name.
“We got to kick it backstage [at Summer Sonic],” M-Flo wordsmith Verbal tells Rolling Stone. “Balvin was telling us about how much he loves Japanese culture, arts, fashion etc. We connected immediately and so when I told him about the soundtrack for an anime movie we were beginning to work on, he was down to jump on the track.”
Produced by the world-renowned anime team Polygon Pictures and OLM, the high-octane video illustrates the artists as action heroes: facing off various monsters, and unearthing the humans they used to be. “I look into your eyes, but I don’t see you no more,” sings Balvin forlornly in English — or, the way Drake might sing about a lover-turned-zombie. “Just a replica of what used to be you before… Where did you go?”
Verbal ramps up the energy in his fiery verses, which contrasts the romanticism of Balvin and M-Flo vocalist Lisa. “Half-ass heroes, don’t wanna hear it,” spits Verbal. “Don’t wanna take a stab if I can’t kill it!”
The new song also celebrates the long-awaited reunion of M-Flo, who first established themselves as a crew in 1998. Composed of Verbal, Lisa and producer Taku, the three will release their first record as a trio since Lisa’s departure in 2002; “Human Lost” is the first of many tracks to come.