Yes, he is Chinese. Yup, he has worked for a Chinese restaurant. Uh huh, his parents disapproved of him getting into hip-hop. Mmm hmm, a Ruff Ryder all the way. But, is that really all that makes up Jin? “106 & Park” your behind down.
Following in the footsteps of a host of other emcees that have built their reputation up off the strength of their freestyling abilities (i.e. Eminem, Canibus, etc.) comes Jin, who caught national attention with his buzzworthy winning performances on BET’s 106 & Park “Freestyle Friday.”
Signed to Ruff Ryder (which hosts the likes of The LOX and DMX), Jin almost categorically fails to fit in from the get-go. As he states right away, the only “hawks” he knows about are the ones hovering up in the sky, which makes him an unlikely candidate to be the Double-R’s rookie of the year.
Still, his debut album, “The Rest is History,” patterns itself over many of the other Ruff Ryder releases, as the monotone piano keys on “Here Now” or the Swizz Beatz-assisted “Get Your Handz Off” sound right at home within the Ruff Ryder catalogue. “Here Now” almost sounds so LOXish that you might expect Jada or Styles P to burst through the speakers at any time with their usual gun-and-gangsta chatter.
Problems arise though (and it happens quite quickly) when, like other freestylers of the past, Jin is forced to put away the lyrics and break out the commercial attempts to ensure a few listens from the radio. The tacky and paradoxical “Club Track” tries unsuccessfully to make a mockery of the prototypical hip-hop club song by, well, grabbing Just Blaze and making a prototypical club song.
Twista barrels through for a decent collaboration on “The Come Thru,” a similar club attempt that bumps, but not any harder than something that, say, J-Kwon could have come up with. And once the despicably female-aimed anthem “Senorita” hits, the only thing that Jin has left to rest on is history, as his whole “106” persona sells out quicker than a ticket to a Boston Red Sox World Series game.
Not everything that Jin touches turns into a bad fortune cookie, however, as “Love Story” features an amazingly-sung hook from a soulful Aja Smith with Jin retelling a high school story about a love interest (with a nice twist to it, of course). And the Eminem-esque “C’Mon” not only proves why many compared Jin to Shady initially, it also has Jin pleading with hip-hop to give him the same chance that they gave to Slim.
The weak first single “Learn Chinese,” the awkwardly-misplaced Kanye West production “I Got A Love,” and the hypocritical “So Afraid” (“Most of y’all sound the same,” Jin raps to emcees following the same format he seemingly does) don’t make giving Jin a chance easy though – in fact, his gimmicky attempts make it hard to accept him throwing away a whole load of potential on a few tracks for the ladies.
So yes, Jin is a Chinese rapper. And being a rapper sounds like a better job than delivering
Chinese food. And his parents may start to come around now that he is a Ruff Ryder. But the “106 & Park” in Jin has all but disappeared. The rest is history.