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Formed through in-club collaborations and general interaction within the Tokyo hip hop scene, Nitro Microphone Underground perfected the large-crew format in Japanese hip hop and the rapid-fire passing from MC to MC that's become their trademark. Indeed, the group has drawn numerous comparisons to Wu-Tang Clan, and rightfully so given their style. After independently releasing their self-titled debut in 1999, the group was quickly picked up by Def Jam Japan, quickly reaching Top 20 status on the Japanese charts with the re-release of the album. With subsequent releases, the group has continued to chart aggressively, and continued to receive praise for being one of the only chart-making hip hop groups to eschew pop influences. With their own record label Nitrich, and clothing line nitrow, as well as solo albums from all 8 of the core members, the group continued to expand with the chart-making EP Uprising and the acclaimed Straight from the Underground. As of 2007, the group had achieved Top 10 chart status with Special Force, which also saw crossovers into apparel with special edition Nike Air Force One's sporting designs from Macka-Chin and Suiken. ~ Adam Greenberg

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