If we’ve seen it once, we’ve seen it a thousand times (or like three). A battle emcee reaches the pinnacle, is touted to be the next big thing in rap music, signs a record deal, then the public doesn’t even bat an eye when the album drops. Jin’s blessing was also his curse.
106 & Park’s “Freestyle Friday” is a place for an amateur emcee to test their skills, and possibly get their number retired in the process. Jin did that easily, and made every viewer remember him, especially his race. His first battle on the program left champion Hassan breathless, by killing him before he could even fire back: “‘Yeah, I’m Chinese, now you understand it / I’m the reason your little sister’s eyes are slanted / If you make one joke about rice or karate / N.Y.P.D. will be in Chinatown searching for your body.” Nobody stood a chance. Just like Eminem, this kid could diss himself before you even had the chance. His microphone was hung up, the Ruff Ryders chain was exposed, and the rest is hip hop history.
The Emcee’s Properganda is a step in the right direction for Jin. Rather than making corny songs about being Chinese and pointing out his difference racially like on The Rest is History, Jin pays tribute to the emcees he truly loves, and tries to make a record that’s focused. On “Top 5 (Dead or Alive)”, we get the impression Jin is just staring at his record collection and trying to make a lyrical catalog. We hear shoutouts to Common, Blackstar, The Roots, Boot Camp, Jadakiss, Ghostface, and a slew of others. While this may seem like a namedrop track, really it just shows Jin’s love for hip hop since he was young.
“Properganda” starts with some bleeps and buzzes by Demo, followed by pretty church chimes that blend well together. Jin comes straight with what he’s realized through popularity: “I often wonder what determines if one is underground / Or commercial, is it how much sell or how you sound? / Check it, the conclusion that I found / It’s insignificant, so I’m refusing to be bound.” This tracks stands out well, and let’s Jin get a little anger out as well.
The majority of the beats are produced by Golden Child, apparently a 15 year old prodigy, but sometimes you realize this kid is merely, a kid. Some of the samples are simply thrown in, simplistic drum patterns, but occasionally a good one is found. Tracks such as “G.O.L.D.E.N.” a hilarious rip off of The Neptunes, and “No Concept” show this kid has mad potential.
With the deterioration of Ruff Ryders, and the loss of many of their premier acts, it’s no wonder Jin is found searching for more, and making an album that truly comes from the heart. With a little more hard work, and the $50,000 he won at a Bahamas battle a while back, he should be able to eventually create a noteworthy album. Question is, by that time, will people still be listening?
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