Thursday, September 15, 2011
After ditching his parents' Chinese restaurant in Miami for Flushing, NY, Jin became an underground untouchable, winning freestyles with any competitor and eventually graduating to win a record seven weeks on BET's Freestyle Friday. Since then he's released four albums and a slew of mixtapes, working with producers such as Kanye West and Just Blaze, as well as fellow Asian-American stars Far East Movement.
In addition to being one of the few of his kind to achieve real success in America, Jin is a unique cross over between continents. He now lives in Hong Kong as a minor celebrity, has made an entire album rapping in Cantonese and often collaborates with Chinese-based musicians working to move hip hop into the Asian mainstream.
For all his achievements, it's still hard to view Jin other than how he markets himself: different for being a Chinese rapper. His main lyrical goal centers on challenging both the preconceptions of Asians and what is to be a rapper. The truly amazing part of his story is that the son of Chinese immigrants can find rap, an African-American-created music, in Florida and then take it back to China and find the same fame and relation to fans there. His existence underscores the emerging nature of hip-hop as a worldwide youth culture.