There Really Is Strength in Numbers: Chops' New Project to Boost AAPIs in Hip-Hop

October 30, 2013

I'm Theresa Jones and I'm a (self-proclaimed) hip-hop head.

At 31, I consider myself a baby hip-hop head, only becoming one late into high school. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable about the roots and history as my husband, who has been a fan for much longer. Nonetheless, I am a  head and I listen to and love the whole wide range of it, from A$AP Rocky to David Banner to Immortal Technique.

Having grown up in the suburbs with a bunch of white people, and knowing nothing about Asian Americans in art, the Mountain Brothers -- along with DJ Q-bert and Mix Master Mike -- were the first indications I saw that people who looked like me could do hip-hop and not just be the fans sitting on the sidelines. Seeking out more Asian Americans in hip-hop became my cause. From there I discovered the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Jin when he was "Jin tha MC" on 106 and Park, and Bambu and Kiwi back when they were Native Guns. Far East Movement was my very first professional interview back in 2006.

At this point, I'd be really surprised if you've never heard of Chops, or at least heard "Chops on the track!" on at least a few songs on your iPod. He's worked with Bun B, Lil Wayne, Bahamadia, Mystic, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, and Raekwon, and that's just off the top of my head. I honestly consider him one of the cornerstones of Asian Americans in hip hop.

These days, being the mom of two littles, I haven't really been able to keep up on what's poppin in this genre, but Chops is putting together a compilation of some great Asian American rappers and singers, and it needs your help. If the roll call on the Kickstarter page and his recent roundup of Asian American artists is any indication, this project is going to be really dope.

He recently released a video with Dumbfoundead and Paul Kim for the project.

If you like what you hear, head on over to the Kickstarter and make a pledge. We only have a few days left to make this happen!

It's a worthy project for which I managed to scrounge up some cash to pledge. My early 20's self would be proud to see this happen, and my early 30's self can't wait to hear these new artists.


Theresa Celebran Jones


Theresa Celebran Jones was born and raised in Connecticut and has moved cross-country four times. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters. She works full-time as a technical writer and is an MFA dropout. Her only other hobbies are reading, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and listening to hip hop. Clearly she has no social life.