Friday, July 9, 2010
Jin first distinguished himself as a notable lyricist when he came out of nowhere to become the “Freestyle Friday Champ” on BET’s 106 and Park. Every week, Jin destroyed the competition and went on to eventually retire as the undefeated Freestyle Champion, solidifying his place as one of the most innovative rap artists of this century.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida Jin’s parents ran their own take-out restaurant, where he spent most of his childhood and teenage years. Growing up during the Golden Age of Hip Hop (the early 90’s), Jin became fascinated with rap music and the Hip Hop lifestyle. When Jin’s family decided to move to Manhattan, he knew it would be the perfect opportunity to follow his dreams. Jin immediately took to the streets of New York and sold his own mix tapes.
But his big break came when he won “Freestyle Friday” and became the undisputed champion. That victory led his record deal with Ruff Ryders. “Learn Chinese” was the first single from Jin’s debut album, The Rest Is History, and became his first video to be played on MTV & BET.
Despite being in the music industry only a few years, Jin has already accomplished a lot more than most artists ever attempt: He made his feature film debut in “2 Fast 2 Furious,” pocketed $100,000.00 and a brand new car in the Fightclub Freestyle Battle at the Mix Show Power Summit (earning the title “Hundred Grand Jin”), and sold over 200,000 copies of his solo debut album. He began a new chapter in his journey with the release of his first-ever all-Cantonese album, ABC (American Born Chinese).
ABC was released in August of 2008, several days before the jaw-dropping opening ceremonies of the Beijing Summer Olympics. He surprised the Eastern world when the media attention surrounding his arrival in Hong Kong stood its ground amidst the massive coverage of the Olympic games. He achieved instant recognition and notoriety within weeks as radio, magazine and TV programs scrambled to feature Jin’s move into town.
Though ABC has no English lyrics, Jin feels that the theme of the project was universal and could appeal to Hip Hop heads everywhere.
“It balances where you were born with your heritage. There has never been an album like this, and no Chinese American has ever done it,” he explains.
All the production on ABC was done by LA-based Far East Movement, an increasingly popular Hip Hop act and production team. FM provided an amazing backdrop to the album, with a classic Hip Hop sound and fat drum tracks. The album is Jin’s musical biography of what it was like growing up in America and still trying to stay true to his Chinese cultural heritage. Even the album cover is a testament to this, showing snap shots from his childhood.
Currently working hard to finish his second Cantonese album, Wui Herng Jing (a play on the words “Hong Kong ID Card”), the project chronicles Jin’s first months living in the “Motherland” and his eventual decision to move into the city once and for all.
Describing the direction of the album Jin says, “It will definitely still have the original sound and appeal of ABC, but the subject matter will be way more relatable for the Hong Kong citizens.”
Jin now preaches the gospel through rap and hip hop. Say Something, his first christian rap album is now available for downloading and he can also be followed at his blog AyoJin.com