Bringing it on back home
Shanghai Daily news
Teaming up to twist the stereotyped and cliched hip-hop scene, an
American in China and a Chinese in America are stirring in a welcome blast of
Asian spice, writes Joyce Xu.
Andrew ballen is an American living in China
and sharing his culture with the world; Jin Au-yeung is a Chinese living in
America who fell in love with hip-hop and took it to the world.
opposite sides of the globe, they came together two years ago and have been
brothers ever since. Next Thursday they will reunite as Ballen brings Jin back
Known as "Jin Tha' MC," the 2004 Fight Club Battle champion, the
biggest-ever Asian-American model of the hip-hop crop has performed around the
world and has won consecutive "Freestyle Friday" battles on BET's popular "106
and Park" program. And the rapper superstar with a mix of hip-hop, Chinatown and
Chinese looks has appeared in some important magazines such as "Rolling Stone,"
"Vibe," "Urban" and "The Source."
Jin started his distinctive freestyle at a
young age and soon developed to become one of the cleverest lyricists in Miami.
He moved to New York in 2001, where the hip-hop scene was dramatically different
from the early 1990s hip-hop renaissance that he had grown up with.
performances on "106 and Park" garnered him much acclaim, and he was offered a
deal to sign with Ruff Ryders, a New York-based label that had established such
premier artists as DMX, Eve and LOX.
After signing, he played a minor role in
the film "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003) and saw his first single, "Learning Chinese,"
become quite an underground success.
"I feel proud that I'm able to be a
voice of hip-hop for the Asian generation in America and I don't care if people
always recognize me as an Asian rapper as that's part of me and my biggest role
in hip-hop," said Jin in an early interview.
According to Max Zhang, a local
rap music lover, Jin is changing the way America looks at the hip-hop genre.
"You know, the rap industry is known to be dominated by African-Americans, but
Jin seems to be the first Asian-American to succeed in the 'rap game'," Zhang
Asian mega pop star Leehom Wong recently also got together with Jin on
his new Grammy-nominated album "Hero." Both American-born Chinese, the two share
a bond and love for their shared culture that reverberates throughout the
"I asked Jin to rap on my album not because he's Chinese but because
he is the best," Wong says.
Date: February 23, 11pm
Venue: VIP Room, A-4,
459 Wulumuqi Rd N.
Admission: 60 yuan at door, 50 yuan for
Tel: 6248-8898, 139-1709-2962