For the uninitiated, Konishiki, formerly Saleva'a Atisano'e, is a Hawaii-born Samoan sumo wrestler, who became the first foreigner to reach the rank of Ozeki, or champion, the second highest rank in sumo. Surprisingly quick and powerful for his nearly 600 lb body, he could, during his prime, easily force out almost any Japanese sumo wrestler from the ring. As the years passed by, injuries took its toll, and Konishiki had to retire from the world of Sumo. So what's an ex-sumo wrestler to do?
Click on the picture of Layzie Bone above, or the picture of Konishiki's album to see a video of Konishiki, the 500+ lb Sumo wrestler-turned-rapper (posted by MusicVideos808). Layzie Bone of the rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony makes a special guest appearance. I love this video - Konishiki must be literally the biggest rapper on this planet, and the song does grow on you after awhile.
This song, "Livin' like Kings" from the album Konishiki, KMS was released in the year 2000, after his retirement from sumo wrestling, but I don't recall it doing very well in the U.S. As of now, Konishiki now goes about Japan singing Hawaiian songs and making good money through his television appearances. Here's a link to a clip of his song Sumo Gangsta, in which he raps in Japanese!
How did the critics receive this album? Jon Azpiri of the All Music Guide sums it up:
Konishiki, KMS is definitely what you would call niche marketing. The album is targeted at those underrepresented fans of both sumo wrestling and hip-hop. Not exactly a growing demographic, but nobody's going to stop Konishiki from trying. When you're a 6'3", 600-pound champion sumo wrestler, odds are you can make rap albums or do anything else you want to and no one will stop you. No doubt Konishiki's considerable girth, not to mention his fame, earned him a record deal. What's scary is that this relative novice provides some passable West Coast hip-hop....Konishiki really shouldn't be making albums. Of course, nobody wants to be the one to tell him.
Regardless of what the critics say, you gotta love this guy as he is still active after retirement from sumo and now promotes Hawaii - Japan ties. He plows much of his money into helping disadvantaged children in Hawaii go to Japan, through his Konishiki Kids foundation. And he even did the second ending theme for the animation Kirby (based on the video game). Check out this video posted by IvynaJS!