Is this a bad dream?
More like a nightmare.
Yeah, we was right there.
This was all in 2016.
They say no news is good news,
We pray for a happy ending.
But nowadays, we so confused
Only the negatives be trending.

If you already know about MC Jin, then there’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with his legendary freestyle rap battles on BET’s 106 & Park nearly two decades ago. Back then, he called himself Jin Tha Emcee and he was unlike anyone we’d ever seen on the program before. He’s Chinese. There’s no such thing as a Chinese rapper with mainstream western appeal, right?

Even to this day, I don’t think I can name another Asian American rapper who has achieved the same level of success as Jin Au-Yeung. We talk a lot about race relations in the United States (and to a lesser extent in Canada), but the issues surrounding the Asian American community simply do not get the same kind of attention.

When we look to the world of mainstream entertainment, Asian Americans are severely underrepresented. Up until we got Fresh Off the Boat and Kim’s Convenience recently, the only other sitcom that depicted Asian American (or Asian Canadian) life was All American Girl. Progress has been made, but there’s still a long way to go.

In this way, MC Jin faced a lot of pressure as the apparent face of the Asian American rapper. He became the first Asian American rapper to be signed to a major record label when he joined the Ruff Ryders with DMX in 2002. Perhaps it it because of all this pressure that he inevitably came up short.

The tragedy is just a daily cycle,
Easily commit me, go psycho.
I want to heal the world so bad
That it might make me go Michael.

You could say Jin is cut of the same cloth as guys like Eddie Huang. He has a connection to his Chinese roots, to be sure, but he aligned himself and identified with hip hop culture too. And in the last few years, he’s been working to climb back to the top.

While most of his previous albums are still available for sale, his new album, Nobody’s Listening, will be offered as a free download at starting February 14th. Happy Valentine’s Day. One of the first singles, “Everything’s Not Okay,” is featured here.

The world can be filled with a lot of trending negative news, but the positive outlook and steadfast determination of guys like MC Jin give us hope. Or at least a channel where we can vent our frustrations.