Breaking Ground

Chinese-American rapper Jin challenges stereotypes on his major-label debut

Cultural critique has already overshadowed much of Jin's music, but throughout The Rest Is History,Jin's roots are grounded, and nowhere as effectively as on "Same Cry." As the track's producer, Mr. Devine, lays down a sweetly sublime guitar signature, Jin rhapsodizes about Tiananmen Square, infanticide, SARS, and other ills that have affected China and Japan. In the song's final verse, he seems willing to accept the hefty weight that has been thrust upon his shoulders: "I got some big shoes to fill/But if I don't lead a movement, who will?"

In our interview, Jin is a bit more ambiguous about his role in the movement. "I feel that if I do good, I can open doors," he says. "But it's not something that I can determine. It's not in my control. What's in my control is my career and that I work hard and put all my effort into it. My Asian fans understand that and just want me to be myself."

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