Having reacquired DJ Krush’s 1999 album Kakusei over the weekend (it was lost in a move last year), I listened to it for the first time in years and realized once more that Krush is a hiphop innovator.

Throughout this album, Krush strips away extraneous elements and focuses lazer-like on the beats (which are funkily in the pocket enough to put Premier on alert), with only the barest augmentation—a few tinkling piano notes; an introverted bass line; faint, smeared horns; clanging anvil hits; languid harp strums; whoos; sighs; etc.—flitting around them, most seemingly from jazz, musique concrète, and traditional Japanese music samples.

Krush puts hiphop production on a macrobiotic diet and the result is a severe sound that hits you like shots of wheatgrass after you’ve been guzzling milkshakes your whole life. Krush certainly isn't the first producer to apply minimalism to hiphop, but unlike nearly every other work in the art form, Kakusei seems to exist in a hermetic world, a stark temple of funk. It's more science project or Ph.D dissertation than it is a compendium of club bangers, but it’s no less riveting for that.

Krush’s haunting, gaunt hiphop is not for everyone, but his Japanese perspective on it is fascinating and a testament to the genre’s ability to adapt to myriad sensibilities and still contain some connection to the culture that was born in the Bronx 30+ years ago.