M.C. Jin (also known as Jin, The Emcee, Jin The Emcee, and Jin Au-Yeung) is one of the best and must underrated rappers in the world. His claim to fame was participating in the old Freestyle Friday rap battles on BET’s 106th & Park back in 2002, where he won for 7 weeks in a row and then was inducted into their Hall of Fame. He was immediately signed to Ruff Ryders Records, but they mismanaged his career, in my opinion. They took far too long getting an album ready, instead of striking while the iron was hot, and his first album THE REST IS HISTORY wasn’t released in 2004. It was a decent album, with production by such notables as Wyclef and Kanye West, and I loved the two singles, LEARN CHINESE and SENORITA, but it just didn’t break through like I think it should have. So then Jin went off on his own, and signed with independent label Crafty Plugz, and released this album in 2005. I immediately loved it, and still do. It’s one of the best complete rap albums I’ve ever heard. Every song is a winner, and I’d almost call it a Concept Album, in that there is an overall theme through the album, discussing Jin’s love for rap music, it’s history as an artform, and his frustration with the record industry and how it strangles creativity. All but one of the songs was produced by a producer called Golden Child, which I think also helps keep this album focused, as it’s just he and Jin putting the songs together.
The album opens with a pointless skit, but then gets to the first of 11 tracks. PERSPECTIVES has Jin decrying the state of current rap music and it’s commercialization (“Corporate America can kiss my ass now, all they want to do is milk the cash cow/They could care less if we end up deceased or in jail, as long as there is an increase in sales”). TOP 5 (DEAD OR ALIVE) is a straight up history lesson of Hip-Hop, proving Jin ain’t no newbie to this, while MR. POPULAR is a song that shows off Jin’s famed battle rap skills and witty punchlines (“I spit lines that linger on your taste buds, I’m paid in full you can check my pay stubs”), and that’s followed by a short, but clever, song called MY FIRST TIME, which is one big double-entendre, as Jin raps about the first time he wrote a rap, but makes it sounds like he’s rapping about the first time he had sex (“Within the confines of my bedroom, just the two of us know where it would head soon”). PROPERGANDA, produced by a producer named “Demo”, gets back on to the topic of the state of hip-hop and it’s commercialization (“For the right price you can go from barely known, to havin’ a top ten single of your very own”), then NO MORE FANS is kinda humorous, as Jin raps about how it seems like nowadays every rap fan thinks he can be a rapper too (“I don’t know, maybe it’s just me/but you should need a license to call yourself an M.C./you must be jokin’ right, you ain’t dope or tight, this even happened last night as the Open Mic/When they called for heads to get up and spit, the whole club got on stage ain’t that some shit?”). G.O.L.D.E.N. is a dope uptempo track that’s both praising Jin’s producer Golden Child, and criticizing other rappers who just rely on hot beats to make hits (“If I was your A&R your verses would be declined, you a grown man why you kickin’ nursery rhymes?/Foolin’ the public with the rubbish you create, hopin’ they won’t notice it beneath the 808’s”). FOOLISH LITTLE GIRLS has Jin rappin’ about misogyny in rap music, and how that effects young girls who emulate what they hear (I’m not here to knock the next man for getting his cash, but 12-year olds singing songs about shakin’ her ass/Yeah, you make songs for adults, but kids got ears too so what’s the results?/Playgrounds filled with self-proclaimed bitches and hoes, who grow up to become groupies takin’ pictures at shows”). It’s the closest thing to a “socially conscious” song on this album.
100 THOUSAND SOLD part 2 is another rap about Jin’s love for the game & appreciation for his fans (“Professionalism I hold in high regard, cuz to me this here is more than just a job/It’s the culmination of all that I believe, Hip-Hop’s the oxygen that I need to breath”), then on NO CONCEPT Jin is joined by rappers Yung Mac and LS, as the three of them spit freestyle rhymes. And the album closes out with CARPE DIEM, another fast-paced braggadocio song, which is all about going for what you what you want in life, no matter what (If Opportunity was at your front door, and it sees it’s locked/It might walk away, so open before it knocks”). A great way to end things. Other than the two skits, I can listen to this album all the way through without needing to skip a song. I believe that if this had been Jin’s debut album, and had come out on a major label within a few months after him winning Freestyle Friday and could still count on that publicity, it would have been huge, and Jin would be much more well known today. I rate this album FIVE STARS
It’s not available on iTunes, but you can get this CD real cheap via 3rd party sellers on Amazon right now.