Chinese American rapper, newest member of Rough Ryders, finds his Asian people in Mountain View.
A couple months ago, I went to see Jin Tha MC's performance at this hoochie nightclub in Mountain View, CA., called the Limelight. For those left who haven't heard of Jin, he's a Chinese American rapper from Miami who won the 106 and Park Battle seven weeks straight. He is now a member of the Ruff Ryders (DMX, Eve and er, Drag-On, Circul-on, etc). And he is the current face of Asian American hip-hop. Here's what happened:
Limelight is one of those huge renovated theaters that gives itself over to promoters for 18 and over shows. Mad Asians up in here so I had to represent. I got my hair cut in a fade, frosted the tips, tinted the windows of my lowered Honda Civic, pressed some old Z. Cavaricci's, and balled out to the performance with a New Order tape in the deck. I pulled up to the club, locked on my Club, and stepped up. The line of pricey rice rockets parked outside rivaled the Vespas parked down Figueroa before a Paul Weller concert. A lot of dudes trying to look like a composite of Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Nelly. The scene replays itself outside of Starbucks, Jamba Juices and Tapioca Expresses in Asian communities nationwide.
The guest list line was super-long already and security guards were ordering people around. I put on my best journalistic game face — eyes locked beyond the doors and velvet rope, cell phone glued on my ear — and walked right past everybody. No line. No cover. Score! Limelight is one of those Asian clubs — many gussied-up import model wannabes bulging out of size ones, short guys with weak facial hair rocking Old Navy and Phat Farm. Being an 18 and up crowd, this shit was funny to me. It could have been junior high -- all the girls on one side, all the guys on the other side. Things got more mixed-up as the songs got better. Hey, where were the New Order and Depeche Mode hits? Wasn't this an Asian club? No "Bizarre Love Triangle" tonight. The DJ was spinning hip-hop and R&B. There must have been ten motherfuckers up there behind the decks, not doing shit. Not to get all "back in my day," but, hey, back in my day, there might have been three dudes up there, tops. Then again, we didn't simulate doggie style and gangbangs and call it dancing. And we just smoked clove cigarettes.
OK, back to Jin.
Dude came on around 12:30 a.m. He looked like Rono Tse of the Disposable Heroes -- short, close-cropped hair, kinda hyperactive. He wore an orange sweatsuit and wife-beater and the Double R iced-out necklace. He had two hype men, neither of them Asian. His came out to Ludacris' "Move Bitch," flipped to say "Move bitch, Jin's on the way, Jin's on the way! Move bitch!" His voice is similar to Eminem's, as is his flow, as is his choice of topics. Haters, weed, haters, trees. He went out of his way to comment on the "haters" he's collected since winning the 106 and Park battle. Someone on stage pulled out a saggy joint and Jin passed on puffing, saying his mom was in the club. The show was a mix of pre-rehearsed routines over popular dubs and maybe one or two originals. He redid Cam'ron's "Hey Ma," retitling it "Hey Jin" and changing the locale to Chinatown. One thing that impressed me was his outward delight in playing to a predominantly Asian audience. He gave this between-songs rant about going to shows and hearing rappers saying, "Where all my black people at? Where all my Latino people at? Where all the white people at?" Jin said, "If I got signed for only one reason, it was for this reason, to ask: WHERE ALL THE ASIAN PEOPLE AT?" The place fucking exploded.
He could have left it at that but he took it one step further. He did an a cappella version of Jay-Z's "Girls Girls Girls" and dedicated it to Asian girls, which was funny or sad, depending on your viewpoint. Before he sang the tribute, he gave an anatomy lesson -- "Asian pussy is like this (holding finger upright) not like this (holding finger horizontal)." The chorus was "Girls Girls Girls Girls, Asian girls galore." Then he spit couplets about Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai girls ("Got this Japanese chick, can't get in her blouse/ Because I never take my Tims off when I step in her house" and "My Chinese chick kept bootlegging my shit/ But she sells that shit quick"). I called it the Yellow Fever Anthem in my notes. He turned the "curry chicken, fried chicken" line and replaced it with dumplings and kimchi. Again, funny or sad, depending on your viewpoint. He bounced after that, about a half-hour show. It was interesting to see Jin do his thing and how he will progress with the Ruff Ryders. He gave no hint on when his record will drop, though. The music came back on and everyone went back to humping each other's brains out under the pretense of dancing.
No New Order songs. Kids are crazy these days.