His family and friends know him as Jin Au-Yeung, but you probably know him as MC Jin, former Ruff Ryder and Park Freestyle Friday legend.
Jin already has quite a number of accomplishments under his belt. He released his debut album The Rest is History back in 2004 and began his acting career in 2 Fast 2 Furious. The artist then took his talent to Asia where he captivated the music industry and starred in a number of Chinese films and television spots.
Well now Jin is back in the US and in a big way. His first full length album in the U.S. titled XIV:LIX will be released on October 19th (check out the first single off XIV:LIX titled “Chinese New Year” below) and Jin also has a role in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Revenge Of The Green Dragons.
Luckily for us, MC Jin took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us and tell us more about what’s to come:
Audrey Magazine: So you began rapping in Middle school. Can you tell us more about that and what inspired you?
MC JIN: Initially, I was spending most of my time emulating the rappers I admired. Looking in the mirror, using a comb as a microphone rapping along line for line, I envisioned myself as LL Cool J. Then when I heard of two young guys named Kriss Kross, it dawned on me that kids could do this too. At that point, I started crafting my own lyrics and next thing you know I found myself engaging in rap cyphers at school.
AM: As a young rapper, what were the sort of things you discussed in your music?
MCJ: I would say the subject matter was pretty standard for the typical mind of a pre-teen. The lyrics didn’t stray too far from things like how boring I thought school was or the girl I had a crush on. For the most part, it mostly revolved around how great of a rapper I was, or thought I was.
AM: What gave you the idea to include Cantonese words in your freestyle verses?
MCJ: That wasn’t something that happened until way later in my journey. When I did start doing it, it was more out of fun then to make a statement of any sort. It is interesting to note that from early on, it never crossed my mind what it would look like to actually write and perform in Cantonese. Who would’ve known that at some point down the line, I’d be doing both in Hong Kong on a scale beyond my imagination.
AM: Did your family and friends always support your career choice?
MCJ: From the moment I made it know that this was my passion and career path choice, it was safe to say that no one was supportive. In the earliest stages, it did feel like I was the only one who believed in this dream. Eventually, both family and my circle of friends came around but to this day, it still feels like a dream. All I can say is, I’ve been extremely blessed to be able to do what I’m passionate about for a living this past decade plus.
AM: What’s the difference between performing in the U.S and in Asia? Which do you prefer?
MCJ: I don’t really have a preference. Wherever I have an opportunity to share my story and do what I love on stage, I am grateful. As for differences, there are the obvious such as language and certain cultural elements. The more I think about it though, we are more similar than anything else.
AM: Tell us how you got into acting.
MCJ: My first big screen experience that people would have knowledge of would probably be the second Fast & Furious film. This was over 10 years ago mind you. It’s encouraging to know people still remember that..
As for how that came about, you can say it was just being in the right place at the right time. The record label that I was signed with made a few calls and got me a casting audition with the director. I went and ended up getting the role. The few years that I spent in Hong Kong definitely opened my eyes to the craft and art of acting, through the tv and film projects that I had the opportunity to partake in.
AM: Do you have a preference between acting or rapping?
MCJ: Both platforms allow me to express myself in unique ways and I find that I still have lots to learn and grow in regarding both.
AM: Tell us about the single “Chinese New Year.” What’s the message and what inspired you to create this song?
MCJ: At the core of it, “Chinese New Year” is about acknowledging our cultural differences however celebrating together, in the fact that we are really all the same in the bigger picture. In that sense, everyday is Chinese New Year.
AM: What’s the overall feel of XIV:LIX?
MCJ: It is definitely my most authentic, sincere and heartfelt album of all the projects I’ve released in the past decade. More than great music, what I hope listeners take away from the album is a true insight into the heart and soul of Jin Au-Yeung.
AM: Can you tell us a bit more about your role in the Martin Scorsese film Revenge Of The Green Dragons?
MCJ: I play a young detective named Tang trying to take down the Green Dragons. It’s a minor role but I am super grateful for the opportunity, as it was an extreme learning experience. To be challenged and stretched is always a great thing.
AM: What can we expect from you in the future?
MCJ: Depending on how the XIV:LIX album does, you might either see me making more music touring the world.. or I might be making you a soy latte at your local Starbucks.