Putting in Work

To be honest, I was not looking forward to 2017. January 20th is just around the corner, and we know what that means. But life is what you make of it, that’s not news, not even fake shit. I saw MC Jin’s tweet, his plan to do 20 1-minute raps, seventeen bars each. One per day for the first three weeks.

I’ve been a Jin fan since 106 & Park. Avenue, like a Buick. His rap skills weren’t out of the blue sky lark, thought you knew this. With God-given talent and flows like the parted sea. It was an incredible sight to behold, a new generation discovering this old MC. I listened intently. Never too fast, just a bit furious. He’s not just a lyrical mechanic with a fix that’s dubious.

In Search Of The Chinese Kid Who Raps

I ain’t much of a rapper and I know it. But I know words, lots of words, so perhaps I’m a poet? Don’t heed what I said, I’m infamous… just in my head. Read the dictionary to learn this English language. Don’t drop beats, “Wouldn’t that break them?” I’d wonder in anguish. String thoughts and randomness together, it’s thankless. First learnt words in ESL class were Spanglish.

But I did get beat, in the Brooklyn streets growing up. People trying to steal our mint, and I chase ‘em down ‘til I’m throwing up. I ran cross-country in high school, it was just okay. Finished near the back of every damn 5K. I’ve moved across the country, trying to get paid. Hustling in Palo Alto everyday.

While y’all are looking for Waldo in those books. I’m listening to 17 bars daily, my wife’s giving me looks. A Chinese Rapper! Hey kids, come here. You gotta watch this brother, lend me your ears. They love music like their Moms and Pop, but they ain’t never had an Asian black egg drop this hot.

“That guy’s Chinese, just like you and me.” Well, that’s only half-true, I’m also Vietnamese. MC Jin’s slaying the verses like VCs, jumping out of trees, in fatigues. Thanks Canibus, but can you trust me to spit the real truth? We got lucky, knew some people, flew out of the motherland. These days the only VCs we see are propped up on hills of sand. That’s the real Ted Talk my man.

I can’t imagine the work it takes, to come up with new bars every time you wake. But this is how you build a fan-base, a community of real people, not fakes. There are no shortcuts on this road to riches, burning the midnight oil and digging ditches. Hard work is the reward for hard work you see. At least that’s what my old man told me. But now he’s finally retired at the age of 63.

I got twenty more years to my life’s work, I ain’t done. Build a hella big pad from which my kids can fly, and reach the sun. Have the kind of wealth that they call generational. Keep your health if you can, that’s most important, not debatable. Do the bold work that’s required to make fortune favorable. But don’t play yourself while you’re “killing it” that’s unsustainable.


MC Quan