Taking a tour inside MC Jin’s world


Even after being M.I.A (missing in action) for 10 years, MC Jin was given a warm welcome back into the music scene as he greeted everyone with his new album, 14:59, which he released last month on Oct. 21. After just a few days of its release, 14:59 received a positive response from the public as many fans complimented on how the music really spoke to them, which is what any artist would be happy to hear. And Jin was definitely happy. Through an exclusive interview with the master rapper himself who first became acknowledged for his skills after winning battle after battle on “Freestyle Friday” for BET’s “106 & Park,” K-Herald received an invitation to take a step into Jin’s mind and explore his journey from the past to the present.

MC Jin performing as a guest appearance

K-Herald: Tell us about your new album, 14:59.
MC Jin: 14:59 is exploring on how you utilize every second you’re given and making the most of it. For 14:59, I’m talking about the last second of your 15 minutes of fame. My first album that I released, which was 10 years ago, I definitely look back on how it’s been a great journey. There were lots of great memories, great opportunities, and of course, many challenging times too – lot of ups and downs. From being signed a record deal and then losing it, all the twists and turns in my life, is what 14:59 is all about.

KH: How did you know it was about time for your comeback?
MC Jin: (Haha) You know what, it was actually never about making one. That never even crossed my mind. If this album gives me the opportunity to do different things and opens doors, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. It’s interesting because one of the songs in 14:59 is me trying to say that if it’s over and it has been over for me, it’s cool. I made peace with it. I think that’s how the music came out the way that it did – with no pressure, no expectations, and no baggage. The timing of the release was not planned and it just happened the way it did. In 2008, I went to Hong Kong and stayed for 4 years and in 2012, I came back to the states because my son, Chance, was born; it had nothing to do with music. From 2012 to 2013, I was very focused on my family and at the beginning of 2014, The Great Company, which is my family now – they’re an independent label I’m signed with, – and I had a vision to be productive this year so one of these things was an album.

KH: What do you think about your earlier music compared to your music now?
MC Jin: I think there’s a big difference. Compared to my first album, “The Rest is History,” I was only in my early 20’s when I was recording and producing. I guess the biggest difference is being 10 years older now (haha). And aside from the age factor, I think just me growing as a person, a husband, a father, and my faith is a big part of what makes me now. Having faith is a big component to me and it’s just been my foundation. I can see that my old music isn’t as much focused as a person and 14:59 is a great example of it me being more focused and has more direction than before.

KH: Do you think people enjoy your music more for the beats or for the lyrics?
MC Jin: I’m not really sure. I’ve been looking at Twitter and Instagram to see what people have been saying about 14:59 and the one thing I’ve been seeing and that I’m so thankful for is that people are responding like, “Wow, Jin. I can see that you really took the time to pour your heart into the lyrics and into these songs.” If they’re saying that, then I think the people have really been listening and it’s all I can ask for. I really did challenge myself to write from a personal place and in my first track, I say, “Feel free to stay awhile, take a tour inside my mind. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 14:59.” Those two lines are exactly my goal where I wanted my music to really connect to people. It’s really cool how different songs speak to different people and how they can relate.

KH: If you can pick one song from the album that you want people to really listen to and know about, which song would it be?
MC Jin: First thing I want to say is, each song on this album is like a piece of my heart. Every piece is important because without that one piece, the heart can’t function. If I had to pick one that really captures everything though, there’s a song called “Glow.” “Glow” is really a song about hope, a song of encouragement, and how even in the darkest times that having just a dim of light is still important. Because even just having a small hope of light can lead and follow you to the right path.

KH: Are you familiar with Korean hip-hop?
MC Jin: I’ve definitely heard it and had conversations about it. But even over the years, I never really got a chance to connect with it because one main thing is I don’t understand the language. I can still listen to it for the feeling and the vibe, but I’m definitely someone that appreciates the actual lyrics so I always wish I knew what they were saying. I’m familiar with some artists like Drunken Tiger and how they’re more of an older generation and traditional, hip-hop. I’ve worked in the past with Chan who’s from the states, but he went to join the group Uptown in Korea. The Korean rappers that I know and am more familiar with are based in the states such as Parker (aka Dumfoundead) who’s super talented and I’ve worked with him before. I also met with Decipher and Johnnyphlo. I recently got to know about Jay Park about how he’s formerly from a group, but now he’s doing his own thing. All in all, I know that the hip hop culture in Korea is really amazing, as it also is in each and every other culture.

Yuna Hwang