While Dragon Ash explores the rap side of rap-rock, RIZE is more than content to stay on the rock half of that equation.

RIZE formed in 1997 by childhood friends Jesse and Nobuaki Kaneko, with bassist TOKIE completing the trio.

The group concentrated on playing live in Shimokita before eventually heading for Shibuya, where they played as the opening act for a number of groups.

When RIZE released its debut album, Rookey in late 2000, it appeared on the Oricon charts at No. 8 and has sold steadily since then.

RIZE's heavy rock sound owes a lot to the usual heavy metal suspects, and Jesse's rough-hewned singing is less hip-hop, more punk.

In March 2001, TOKIE, who had been pulling double-duty with AJICO, left the group. She was replaced by U-ZO, and at the same time, RIZE welcomed new guitarist Nakao Hiro.