There are at least four known artists under the name Verbal:
1) a Japanese hip-hop MC and music producer;
2) a post rock band from Bergamo, Italy;
3) a Washington DC-based instrumental rock trio;
4) an MC from Kragujevac, Serbia.
1) Verbal, real name Yu Yeong-gi (류영기 / リュウ・ヨンギ), born August 21, 1975 in Tokyo, Japan, is a Japanese third generation Zainichi Korean hip-hop MC and music producer. He is best known for being a member of the group m-flo, but is also a member of MIC BANDITZ and Teriyaki Boyz. As a solo artist, he has released under the name L UNIVERSE, and in 2010, he debuted under his Verbal moniker with the single, Fall Out, which featured the vocals of up-and-coming male vocalist SHUNYA.
Born in Japan, in 1985, Verbal's parents moved to Boston in the United States for work. When at a YMCA summer camp, Verbal was first exposed to hip-hop music, in the form of Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Tricky" when the other children sung the song on the bus for the camp. He was impressed and influenced by the hip-hop culture of New York, and at 14 years old he started writing lyrics in English. His parents moved back to Tokyo, and Verbal attended St. Mary's International School. He met Taku Takahashi (?Taku Takahashi) there, and the pair formed a rap rock band called N.M.D. in 1992. The band received many offers from major record labels after their live performances, however as Verbal did not see being a rapper as a practical career, he turned down these offers.
Verbal returned to the United States, to study philosophy and marketing at Boston College. In his first year of university, he abandoned these plans after a great romantic disappointment, converting to protestantism and deciding to study at Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary to become a pastor.
In 1998, Verbal returned for winter break to Japan. During this time, he recorded a rap for a cover of Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were" that Takahashi was producing. Masaji Asakawa from the DJ group GTS, a contact of Takahashi's, believed the song was very high quality. m-flo was then officially formed, with Verbal and Takahashi recording many songs together. Asakawa believed one of these songs, "Been So Long," featuring vocals from a mutual friend of both Verbal and Takahashi, Elizabeth Narita, was high enough quality for him to try to convince Verbal to become a full-lime musician. He was convinced, and the group debuted as a three person group (with vocalist Elizabeth becoming LISA) in 1999 with the "The Tripod E.P.," which debuted in the top 10 on the Japanese singles chart.
The group achieved great success in 2000 and 2001 with the songs "How You Like Me Now?" and "Come Again," with the former selling more than 220,000 copies, and the latter approximately 390,000 copies. The band's second album, "Expo Expo", debuted at #4 on the charts. During the group's first two albums, Verbal was travelling back and forth between Japan and America to finish his studies. During these initial years, Verbal had collaborated with a great number of Japanese artists already, including producing the female rap unit Heartsdales.
In 2002, LISA left m-flo to follow a solo career. During this time, Verbal and Takahashi's solo works intensified, with Verbal taking a major part in two different hip-hop supergroups, MIC BANDITZ and SUITE CHIC. In 2003, m-flo returned from hiatus, but instead of using a new full-time vocalist, the band featured a different famous musician on each of their songs. In 2005, Verbal became a member of another hip-hop supergroup, TERIYAKI BOYZ. The group has collaborated with many famous Western hip-hop musicians, such as The Neptunes, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. The group came to the most prominence in the West with the eponymous theme song for the film "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" in 2006.
In 2007, m-flo released their final album featuring different vocalists, "COSMICOLOR". After this point, the group had released sporadically, with a succession of different compilation albums. Verbal has consistently been working with other artists since then, producing songs for such artists as BoA and HALCALI. Some of his biggest collaborations since then have been a cover of Godiego's song "The Galaxy Express 999" with EXILE, which has been certified as double platinum for cellphone downloads by the RIAJ, and a collaboration with Kana Nishino (????), "Kimi no Koe o," which has been certified gold for cellphone downloads. In 2010, Verbal directed his first music video, MINMI's "Pa to Hanasaku," which also features Verbal.
In 2011, Verbal will release his debut solo album. The first single from the album, "Fall Out feat. SHUNYA," is the opening theme song for the drama Perfect Report, and will be released as a digital single in December.
2) Verbal is also an Italian post rock band from Bergamo. The band was formed at the end of 2009 and it's composed of Gregorio Conti (bass guitar), Isaia Invernizzi (lead guitar, omnichord), Marco Parimbelli (lead guitar, glockenspiel, percussion) and Sebastiano Ruggeri (drums). In september 2010, Marco Torriani (keyboards, distorted voices, sampler, tubes, toys and rattles) joins the four piece and Verbal finally lands at a stable formation.
Verbal's sound draws inspiration from different musical landscapes, leading to an effective synthesys where a delicate balance lies under all the building blocks.
Although busy with countless live dates, as of now Verbal is focused on writing new material.
The LP recording is scheduled for the end of summer 2011.
MySpace Webpage: www.myspace.com/Verbaltrust
3) Washington DC-based Verbal is an instrumental rock trio rooted in the energetic and creative musical expressions of the nation’s capital without the fetters of history. Tired of running their mouths, Verbal tossed the mics in the Potomac and set out to craft forcefully melodic songs resulting in their debut record, "The Name We Sell Now". They use a jazzy, improvisational style using the basic elements of drums, guitar, and bass.
4) Serbian MC from Kragujevac.