this blog has been useful, but has long since been replaced by my facebook artist page and other forms of social media.
as i prepare to launch my new project, THE UNCOOL, in Beijing and online worldwide, I've set up a new site to post music, videos, photos, and musings: www.jasonchu.net.
as i continue to grow as a servant, a brother, a son, a musician, a writer, and a friend, i hope you will also continue walking with me...
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
MODEL MINORITY is proud to present THE TIGER SONS Tape, following up on their previous release, THE MODEL MINORITY REPORT.
On THE TIGER SONS, emcees D-One, Grand Master Chu, and Inglish continue to speak about the lives of young, modern, Asian-Americans with their signature wordplay. Humorous, self-deprecating, and thoughtful, they address a range of subjects from growing up in Asian-American households (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Sons), online romance (Twitter Girl), historical struggles against racism (Vincent Chin.), and drop bilingual party tracks like Xian Kan Kan Wo (a Mandarin cover of Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now”) and Ooh It’s Just Genetic, Girl.
The lead single from THE TIGER SONS, Invisible People (Where’d You Go?), and its accompanying music video, are dedicated to those people whose voices and stories have been lost or ignored. With a music video shot in San Francisco, directed by Angela Yu, the song sees the three rappers speaking out against injustice in the classroom, courtroom, and media.
THE TIGER SONS Tape is available for free download & streaming at http://grandmaster.bandcamp.
The INVISIBLE PEOPLE music video is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Model Minority - http://www.facebook.com/
D-One (@DavidBFung) - http://www.youtube.com/
Grand Master Chu (@JasonGLChu) - http://www.facebook.com/
Inglish (@AndrewJFung) - http://www.youtube.com/
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
In March, Model Minority recorded "Vincent Chin." for our upcoming mixtape THE TIGER SONS, in the hopes of continuing to use music to educate our listeners and friends about the struggles and victories of Asians in America.
With Thursday being the 29th anniversary of his death, we decided to release "Vincent Chin." early, before the rest of the project, as a sign of respect for those who have come before us, and in the hopes that the tragedy that ended his life would never be forgotten.
The video clips that play during the song are selections from Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña's 1987 documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin? and the instrumental is from Fort Minor's Kenji.
Grand Master Chu
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Most people don't really know this, but my dad was born in Thailand... 100% Chinese though, ethnically, not to mention his father was a Chinese journalist who moved to Thailand RIGHT before the Cultural Revolution (thank God) + his stepfather was 100% Chinese... but anyways I had never been to Thailand before a short trip earlier this year...
Why do I say this?
My homeboy JP, aka the creator of the art for our Japanese Tsunami benefit song remix, has been in Thailand for work for a minute, and I just got this DOPE package today with a Thai return address!!!!
Inside: New stickers from their DOPE skateboarding company!!
Thanks, big dog! See u next time u come thru BJ! Say what up to Paul 4 me!
BONUS: You're Not Alone (Japan Tsunami relief song) REMIX ft. a lot of rappers & singers
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Jessii: in my life i never got those
Jessii: 5 & 23
Jason: i like 5's
Jason: anything over 11 or 12 isn't interesting 2 me though... my favorites are III-V, VII, VIII and XI
Jessii: 23 is okay but my friend wear em and they want me to match
Jessii: most of the time i wear 4 & 5s
Jason: yea! I have some 4's i bought here, they're OK but a little big
any gf that will talk J's with me is someone to hold on to haaaa
Saturday, April 16, 2011
19 songs + 3 bonus tracks, featuring tracks recorded recently in Beijing, China, and over a four-year period from 2006-2010 in New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, Delaware.Two videos from the project are available on Youtube: the Bustout/60 video (filmed by D-One) and Bring Me Down. Full press release + other videos on the way...
If you enjoy, please share with your friends on facebook, retweet, etc.
Bring Me Down
Monday, April 4, 2011
I was out on a late morning run today - a couple blocks from my house, before lunch, a whole gang of 老百姓 (older Chinese working-class folk) congregate on about a block and a half of street corner for a street market, selling old books, watches, magazines, used shoes, etc. etc.
Well usually it is nothing that I would even pay attention to! But today when I was running by a pair of shoes caught my eyes and I stopped dead in my tracks!!
These joints are super limited... super exclusive... who knows why they turned up secondhand on a street corner in Beijing! But the stitching + details look legit, plus the price was right! I didn't have any money on me but the 老头儿 (old head) who had em on the back of his wheelbarrow held them for me while i ran home, showered, and biked back for em.
Copped for 5 RMB = ~70 cents!!
If you know, you know!!! Feel free to hate!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
We watched in horror as the news flooded in - texts, chat messages, TV reports - of the tragedy that struck our Japanese brothers & sisters on Friday.
As Asian-Americans, we couldn't help but see the parallels with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.
George Takei said on twitter - "Today, we are all Japanese".
It's easy to look at the news and have our emotions stirred, but not actually contribute in a productive fashion. Model Minority wants to use our music to encourage our friends, fans, and family to respond graciously and generously.
A remix featuring other artists (both Asian-American and non) is coming soon. If you are interested in contributing to the remix (singing, rapping, adding instrumentation, or providing a new beat), email email@example.com.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
For those of you who do not know... the last week has been really crazy up in here... pollution that was literally beyond hazardous (For 2/5 of the week it just read "Beyond Index"), pollution-induced illness, two-year-old bill payments being demanded, shady landlords, upcoming evictions, unpaying debtors...
I was riding the subway tonight and my emotions on the situation just started writing themselves into a verse...
The Devil tryin' to lie to me - friends try to get high with me
People asking favors then turning a blind eye to me...
So I came home tonight and recorded then mixed this song about the emotions I've been feeling over the last week. I wanted to be honest and put myself out there in front of man - but more importantly, in front of God. You could say that Peace of Mind is a prayer of sorts... when I was feeling frustrated and absolutely knew that I would only get thru this with strength beyond what I myself could provide.
Peace of Mind is streaming on my Youtube channel right now.
-jglc a/k/a Grand Master Chu
Monday, February 21, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Jessii: honey when we were chatting do u give me attention?
Me: 'course right now i'm watchin TV too
Me: but you always got my attention
Jessii: oh i ask b/c i dont give u attention
Jessii: oop =X
Friday, February 4, 2011
This piece is merely a short summing-up of some musings I've been having over the past few months, as I've seen my investment - of time, finances, and identity - in music steadily increase. If you're involved in art too, please comment after you read and let me know what motivates you to do your art?
As far as I can tell, the common reasons people commit to a lifestyle in which music - or art of any kind, though music is the field about which I've been thinking the most, as it's also the most personally relevant - takes a high priority, comprise a short list:
1) money - $$$
2) sex - self-explanatory
3) fame - being easily or widely recognized or liked
4) power - becoming credible or well-known enough to be listened to (think Arnold Schwarzenegger - for him, art (acting... of a particular sort) => fame => power)
5) God - for reasons of religious calling or spiritual satisfaction
6) personal artistic satisfaction - you really love your art; you enjoying singing, or acting, etc.
7) being cool - similar to fame, but with more of an edge: being a figure to which others aspire or desire to be like in full or in part.
An 8th category could be "success" - but I'm guessing, when questioned as to the meaning of success, most would answer in some combination of the above 7 categories.
Of course a lot of these could reduce to one another - money leads to power, God leads to personal satisfaction, fame leads to money, being cool leads to sex, and so on. But they are still distinct.
Why think about these categories?
I've been thinking about these categories of motivation as I've been stepping up my own musical output, profile, and aspirations because the question of target is now coming into view: I've started talking to a few small labels, begun thinking about who I want to make music for, why I make music, where I want it to take me - and where I want to take it.
None of these questions can be answered without first knowing, or at least having some sort of handle, on the issue of goals: do I want to reach 5 people, 500, 10 thousand, 50 million? What do I do when I'm reaching them?
When artists catapult to fame without answering these questions, they have public meltdowns, imploding under their own weight: you get a Marilyn Monroe, a Kurt Cobain, a Lindsay Lohan. And so the Korean pop world has a well-covered-up but increasingly alarming pattern of celebrity suicides. People who rise to fame, all the while viewing fame as the ultimate goal, are consumed and spit out by the churning media machines.
But when those who rise to prominence have these questions of goal and drive answered from the start, you get artists like 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and whom it seems like Lady Gaga is becoming: men and women who understood the place for fame and artistic success in a larger picture of personal well-being. They are the ones who managed to use the pop culture/media machine while not succumbing to its ravishes - they may have been used in the process, but it was at least an exchange of sorts, instead of an enslavement.
So, for me, the initial question is: will you pursue music?
It seems that I have answered this question: yes.
The next question: why? And what will you do if - when? - that music becomes something - you become someone - people care about?
Well, let's see:
1) money - this category is alluring, but ultimately, not a motivating reason. Whether it would be right for me to have significant amounts of money or not is another question: long ago, when I first began making music, I told myself that I would never have music be my primary income stream: I recognized then, as I still do, I think, that relying on the money I make from music is a very quick way to stop enjoying my music. It would be, at least, for me. I think. Whether this is true or not may be up for question in the future: at the moment, however, money is distinctly not the primary motivation for my musical aspirations.
2) sex - nah.
3) fame - This is definitely a highly tempting aspect of musical success, more so than (1) but less than (7). To be well known is intensely appealing to me, for the same reasons, I suspect, that it is to many of people in my generation: popular media has told me, as long as I have been alive, that people who are widely known matter. And hence, I now believe, if I am widely known, I will matter! More well-known, more influential.
As I think about it, I do believe that fame is one of the reasons that I would pursue music. As my rap partner/strategic consultant D-One has often told me: if no one's listening to it, why are you recording it?
There are other motivating reasons - 5-7 being chief for me - for me to pursue music, but I will say this: I hope that my music can become famous among the right circles! They may not be large, and they may not be circles that are well-known, but I do hope that my music will have impact on the right people (finding who the right people are is a topic I want to reserve for a future post - suffice it to say that they don't always look like the people you would have chosen, but they are the people you need to grow to love!). And to do so, it must speak with authority (which I'll touch on next) into at least some group larger than myself.
4) cachet/authority/power - this is part of my hope for music. As I believe my life testifies to, there are deep truths and realities that I believe are important to talk about, bear witness to, experience, and share in community with others - the flip side of this is that there is an intimate privilege in being someone with whom people are willing to open themselves and show vulnerability. In music, especially if you're doing the kind of music that manages to resonate with people on an emotional level, you are given the immense honor of both speaking into people's lives as well as being someone with whom people want to share. This is important to me.
5) God - Is God directing me to do music? I think so. I find personal joy in it (more in 6, below), I find it natural, I believe the music I do is not only in line with my faith, but supplementary to it, and I believe that my music is fundamentally about Truth - which, coincidentally, is another name for God in my understanding. So, yes, 5 is a motivation for my music: To remain a venue for spiritual growth and expression of spiritual truths.
6) personal artistic satisfaction - This is also a high priority for my music. I want to make good music. However, I've realized that I am also fairly satisfied with making a plethora of styles of good music, from love songs to old-school lyrical hip-hop, to contemplative new-school joints, and in between. If I could make a VERY WELL produced Far East Movement/Black Eyed Peas kind of party/club joint, I would be happy with that as well! So, personal satisfaction is a high priority. But I'm also easily satisfied.
7) being cool - I do think that being cool is, well, cool. However, as I consider this category, I also realize that I'm more interested in (4) than in (7): if people will permit me to speak into their lives with some degree of trust, I don't care very much whether it's because I'm considered cool, or if it's because of some other reason. So, I would put down (7), but only as a means to (4), thereby indicating that (7) is not truly a motivation for music, but rather a step to the true motivation, which is (4).
So, it seems as though my answers are: I am pursuing music primarily for reasons of (A) fame (within certain accepted limitations), (B) cachet, (C) personal artistic satisfaction, and (D) I find in it a puzzle piece toward my spiritual calling.
The next question is: what if I could obtain (A), but at the cost of sacrificing (B) and (C)? What if I could obtain only 2 of the 3?
If you're a musician or any manner of artist - which of these categories motivates you? Why? What are your thoughts on this entire topic/issue?
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Over the past few months, I've been documenting via this blog, as well as my Facebook artist page, how my ex-roommate (now living in Taiwan) MC D-One and I have been putting together an Asian-American rap crew along with his brother.
This past weekend, we were proud to release Model Minority's first mixtape, The Model Minority Report.
I'm proud of the songs we made, and feel that it embodies the voice of our generation of young modern Asian-Americans, filtered through a hip-hop lens.
The lead single for the project, A.F.R. (Asian Food Rap), has a music video on youtube:
Our hope is that Model Minority will be MORE than just three rappers, but a lifestyle movement among Asian-Americans... something we can represent with pride and feel ownership of. A voice to speak out about who we are, where we come from, and the shared experiences that make us Asian-American. If the music resonates with you at all, if you feel like it speaks about your life, you ARE part of the Model Minority Movement.
Model Minority is a rap group made up of D-One, Grand Master Chu, and Inglish, three veteran Asian-American emcees who banded together to create a group to represent the lifestyles of young modern Asian-Americans of the 80's, 90's, and 00's. Covering topics like academic pressure from parents and self (Overachiever) to Asian food (Asian Food Rap) to romance (What's Your Name), audiences are sure to find something they can relate to.
The first rap group formed specifically to tackle the issues of growing up Asian-American, each rapper brings unique experiences to the table: Grand Master Chu has a degree in Philosophy from Yale, D-One started his own clothing brand in college, and Inglish has a budding stand-up comedy career.
Following in the footsteps of pioneers like The Mountain Brothers, Jin Tha MC, and Far East Movement, the trio also draws from artists like Eminem, Mos Def, and Jadakiss. With their entertaining brand of hip-hop lyricism, they have drawn comparisons to the "Wong Fu Productions of rap".
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Some of my crew and I had a DOPE Christmas Night show at Section 6, Beijing's legendary hip-hop party, and I just got around to getting the footage up on youtube...
The song below is my remix of Airplanes Pt. 2, by B.o.B. featuring Eminem and Hayley from Paramore. I got my friend, Korean singer DK Choi, to sing the chorus, and we reworked the lyrics + chorus, which are copied underneath..
We performed this song on our Christmas Night show, the other three songs are also available on my youtube channel if anyone is interested:
1) Asian Streets (Hard in Da Paint remix)
2) 黑色黄色 ft. MC D-One (Black + Yellow remix)
3) Faster ft. MC D-One
As always, if you enjoyed it, please follow my Facebook and youtube accounts! MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I've been flying on an airplane through the night sky
Like a shooting star
I just wish I was home right now,
home right now, home right now
I'm dreaming... dreaming
I'm falling... falling
How can I catch the ears of America?
Play a stereotype, or a character?
Maybe if I was more what you want
I would have a better chance of standing up in the front
But could I stand that? Well, can I stand this?
Ten years rapping, with no impact
At least I got mentioned on some blogs
Wish that I could tell the whole world to pause
Life's real, my homey's kid had a fever
He was screaming, MY BABY, like Justin Bieber
At the hospital all day, at the end, there was nothing left to say,
Baby passed away.
So I fly on an airplane, and I land somewhere out in LA
Standing in the runway, playing MJ
Watch the sun fall as it fades at the end of the day.
Seeing three time zones in a single week,
Not even sure what language I oughta speak
And I'm not just talkin reckless
Yellin "Fire!" in a house with no fire exit
Check the seats for attendance
And pay attention to the flight attendants
Watch the windows as we take off,
then watch the clouds wash over the wings as we take off...
Caught between two different homes
I find rest as I silence my cell phone
Wake up like, did I ever even sleep?
Or was the whole long trip just another dream?
Out the window, I'm staring at night lights
As the in-flight movie plays on
Through the long night, am I on the wrong flight?
Should my life have gone left, or did I choose right?