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CHOPS featuring Mountain Brothers & Ann One – Keep On [Official Music Video]

Strength in NUMBERSAsian American Urban Music Compilation
Produced by CHOPS
MORE INFO: http://chopsmusic.com/numbers/

Keep On
CHOPS featuring MOUNTAIN BROTHERS & ANN ONE

CHOPS http://CHOPSmusic.com
PERIL-L http://twitter.com/teapotd0me
STYLES INFINITE http://twitter.com/stylesinfinite
ANN ONE http://AnnOneMusic.com

Directed / shot / edited by: Chris Chan Lee DEFECTOR FILMS

Produced by: Michael Jung & Chris Chan Lee

Special Thanks: Onaje Gittens, Richard K. Kim, Rini Yun Keagy

Strength in NUMBERS! Over 30 artists, some of the best out, participated in this project. Mostly Asian American, with special appearances from Japan and Korea.

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Why are there so few mainstream Asian-American rappers?

Why are there so few mainstream Asian American rappers? Director Salima Koroma and producer Jaeki Cho are trying to find out in their new indy documentary “Bad Rap.”

The film features L.A.’s Dumfounded crew, Queens MC’s Awkwafina and Rekstizzy and Virginia’s Lyricks. Digging into the history of Asian Americans in hip-hop, Koroma and Cho travel through the heyday of Jin and Philly’s Mountain Brothers, then bring things forward to examine the recent success of Far East Movement and K-pop star PSY. They also spend a fair amount of time dissecting the roles that gender and racial politics play in the struggle these rappers face in their attempts to break through.

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Creative Spotlight: Scott “CHOPS” Jung

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CHOPS is an Asian American hip hop producer, rapper and former member of the Asian American Hip-Hop group, the Mountain Brothers. He is a very busy guy nowadays supporting Haiyan relief and successfully funded Kickstarter projects of his own. Over his illustrous career, CHOPS has established a name for himself as a producer, creating tracks for artists such as Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Kanye West and the popular song “The Creep” by The Lonely Island. His latest project, Strength in Numbers, is a collaboration with more than 30 Asian and Asian-American artists, many who we have featured on this very site. Read below for the full Q&A…

I’m not claiming to be familiar with all the appearances on the album, but I have interviewed Baiyu and Connie Lim and a few of the Emcees featured. What I can say is they are all very eclectic artists from one another. How did you form a synergy making sure all these people came together to make a cohesive record?

CHOPS: It is pretty diverse, that’s one of the main reasons for doing the Strength In NUMBERS project. There’s so many different styles of artists involved who are dope, who I wanted the chance to work with. First because I’m a fan, and wanted to help showcase everybody’s skills. Plus I wanted to show my ability and range production-wise too. To me it feels eclectic but cohesive at the same time. Creatively it was fun having a mix of songs and artists, and even in some cases getting people together who hadn’t worked together yet, like Paul Kim and Dumbfoundead, or Joanlee and Decipher.

If your Kickstarter project is any indication, there can be a lot of questions I can raise from it.

CHOPS: Luckily I’m answering this after the end of the Kickstarter, and it did fund, but it was rough there for awhile. Felt like I was ready to quit a few times. But the amazing thing about this project, is getting to connect with folks who believe in what we’re doing. There’s a lot of people who helped bigtime. They made the Kickstarter succeed, and continue to make the project bigger, with much more impact. The real goal of the project isn’t a monetary goal, and monetarily this project is not a success for me compared to other stuff I do, especially considering the time put into it, it’s been over two years. But everything else about the project makes it a total success so far, the support has been amazing. We’re working on more music videos, and other stuff to help get the word out. I want to make sure people get to hear the music, whether they support via iTunes or Amazon, or whether they just pass it around. Realistically if people share this music, even without kicking in, it’s a good thing. Musicians these days, especially Asian American ones, are not fighting piracy. We’re fighting obscurity.

So, you don’t think there is a lack of community in the Asian/Asian-American music industry? Perhaps a lack of trust or support between labels and Asian artists?

CHOPS: I think there’s little to no support from mainstream outlets for anybody not yet in the mainstream, which means having to go grassroots with everything, and build up our own support. This is something the artists on the project have been doing for years. I wanted to try and join forces with everybody and see what could happen with everybody helping each other a little. We’ve been getting good response so far, and that feels good, feels like progress.

Rhymefest had a line where he addressed his indie projects not getting more shine due to his connections: “Brush up on your math skills / Nothin plus zip equals zero; he couldn’t relate / That n_gga ain’t been broke since “H to the Izzo“. Is this somewhat true? With all your connections with Kanye, Jeezy, Bun and Wayne, why do you feel its still an uphill climb sometimes?

CHOPS: It is somewhat true, you need opportunities to get success, and you need success to get opportunities. To the industry, I’m just one of a zillion mofos who make beats. I’m fortunate to get to do successful work with big artists now and then, but I’m at a point in life where I’d like some of my work to mean something, on a personal level. I want it to be a little deeper than just “I did a beat for this famous person.” That’s a big reason for the Strength In NUMBERS project. People say my group Mountain Brothers played a part in starting something, and I want to be part of helping give another push.

What are some of your favorite Asian films or anime?

CHOPS: I’m gonna show my age with some of these, and I’m terrible at “best of” lists, I always remember stuff after. Some favorites are Hard Boiled, Young & Dangerous, The Raid: Redemption,Monga, SPL, and Miike’s Dead or Alive. I’ll definitely check your site to find out good movies to watch!

I remember talking to Mike B and Decipher and I asked them why all their LP’s guests appearances were just Asian artists, whether it was an project specifically to raise up Asians or just collaborating with friends. They choose the latter but your latest project says you wanted Asians only. What is the reasoning behind this?

CHOPS: That’s a great question. The reason for me wanting Asians only for this project, is because I’ve spent most of my career not working with Asians. When I was a lot younger I dreamed about having a situation where I’d get to work with great Asian artists. But for a ton of different reasons, that didn’t happen.Until now that is.

You have a no-sample production style. I don’t need to tell you that in modern beat-making that is rare. Why did you choose to mold that style?

CHOPS: Sample-free beats are more popular now than when I started. I was kind of an oddball back then, for not sampling. But when I was learning I was really influenced by groups like The Roots, who use live instruments. I always loved the programmed synth and drum machine stuff too. I’ve had some music training, so playing and programming instruments makes it easier for me to get ideas across than sampling somebody else’s work. Plus, business-wise if you sample, there’s no royalties, which would kill me because I live off royalties.

You’re a busy man, aside from the Strength in Numbers, what can fans expect from you into 2014?

CHOPS: I’ve actually been working on this project for so long I kinda got tunnel vision and didn’t do much else for awhile, so I’m just getting back in motion. I have some collab projects where I’m doing production and getting on the mic, with a couple of my favorite artists from the West coast and down South. I don’t like giving too many details before the eggs are hatched, but we’re working. I’m always making solo music, but that’s usually for stuff like placement on TV shows, I never really put that stuff out but I’m thinking about doing some of that too. And we’re planning collab projects, or at least songs, where I do some more tracks with some of the Strength In NUMBERS artists. That’s the other great thing about the project, finding cool artists who click and want to do more work together.

Looking through the ‘Strength in Numbers’ list of Asian artists, it’s really crazy! They’re all talented but nobody on radio, TV or magazine is showing them love. Why do you think that is? Does it go BEYOND their ethnicity?

CHOPS: I think regardless of race or ethnicity, the public basically ignores you until you do something that grabs some attention. Plus, you’re not getting a lot of love from radio, TV, and print unless you have “the machine” backing you. And a lot of people in the mainstream music biz are less likely to stick their necks out for somebody or something unproven. And of course, we’re unproven for the most part. The thing is though, times are changing and you don’t need radio, TV, or magazines to get heard and seen. More importantly, fans don’t need radio, TV, or magazines to find great music and great artists.

Lastly, any advice for any struggling producers out there?

CHOPS: This is going to sound harsh but it’s the advice I always give. Don’t do it. Especially as a job. Everybody and their mom makes beats, now that anybody can get a half decent laptop and a cracked copy of Fruity Loops or whatever. The supply is insanely high, and demand is lower than ever. That ratio won’t improve as time goes on. The odds are really fucked up. In all likelihood, you won’t be able to make a living from it. BUT, if you love it so much that there’s no choice but to constantly continue to learn, continue to improve, continue to connect with people, continue to seek ways to make your passion work for you, etc. etc. etc…. if you have the attitude that nothing can keep you from it, and the actions to back it up, you might just do ok. I’ve been doing this as my living for about 15 years now and I’m still working on all that stuff, trying to get where I’m going.

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Want to know more about the project or check out the other artists on the track? Follow CHOPS’ cookie crumb trail below:

chopsmusic.com
twitter.com/chopsmusic
instagram.com/chopsmusic
chosmusic.tumblr.com
facebook.com/chopsmusic
strengthnum.tumblr.com
facebook.com/strengthnum
twitter.com/strengthnum

List of artists on ‘Strength in Numbers’:

Ann One (LA), Baiyu (NYC), Bambu (LA), Catzie of Yellow Rage (PHL), Connie Lim (LA), Decipher (PHL), DJ Bonics (PHL/PGH), DJ Neil Armstrong (NYC), DJ Roli Rho (NYC),Dumbfoundead (LA), El Gambina (NJ), Erika David (Bay Area), Hopie (SF), Hoya (NYC), J-Key (NYC), Joanlee (LBC), Kiwi (LA), Lil Crazed (MN), Matt Cab (Tokyo), Mic Barz (ATL), Mountain Brothers (PHL), Nikko Dator (LV), Paul Kim (LA), Prometheus Brown (SEA), Rekstizzy (NYC), Rocky Rivera (SF), Ruby Ibarra (Bay Area), Tasha aka Yoonmirae (Korea), Thai (PDX), Tiger JK (Korea), Timothy Flu (ATL), Verbal of M-Flo / Teriyaki Boyz (Tokyo), and Yellow Boyz (ATL)

Check out this link:

Creative Spotlight: Scott “CHOPS” Jung

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Buzzfeed: 21 Asian American Musicians You Need To Get Behind Right Now

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Team-Yellow friend and supporter, CHOPS, a prominent producer behind the sounds of Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Talib Kweli, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to put talented Asian American musicians on the mainstream map.

Once a musician himself (as part of Mountain Brothers, the first Asian American act to be signed to a major label), Chops identifies with “artists today who go through many of the things my group did, overcoming the same obstacles, same struggles, pushing forward, and going beyond.

Here is just a small sampling of dope acts he believes you need to be paying attention to:

1. Dumbfoundead

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Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Battle champ, tons of stripes, and increasingly great music. Super prolific output, tremendous grind. Listen here.

2. Baiyu2

Who: Singer
Reppin’: NYC
CHOPS says: Baiyu’s talent, music, videos, and drive put a lot of major label artists to shame. Tremendous vocalist and writer. Listen here.

3. Prometheus Brown3

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Seattle
CHOPS says: Prometheus has a laidback way about him on record and in person that draws people in. His fans ride for him. Listen here.

4. Erika David4

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Bay Area
CHOPS says: Singer with dope pop R&B vibe, it’s been a while since she’s released new original music but the fans are waiting for it. Listen here.

5. Bambu5

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Bam speaks on important things, stuff that matters, and backs what he says with action. Listen here.

6. Ann One6

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: She has songs from the mid-2000s that singers in Korea sing in idol competitions, the way kids sing Mariah, Whitney, or Christina songs here. Listen here.

7. Connie Lim7

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Connie’s voice ranges from a whisper to a stadium belt. Influences ranging from Sarah MacLachlan to Bjork to Ellie Goulding to Florence and the Machine. Listen here.

8. DJ Bonics8

Who: Hip Hop Deejay
Reppin’: Philly
CHOPS says: Bonics spins on the biggest station in Philly when he’s not on tour with Wiz Khalifa. He has a lot in the works, and he’ll be expanding even more. Watch him go in with DJ Craze.

9. DJ Neil Armstrong9

Who: Hip Hop Deejay
Reppin’: NYC
CHOPS says: Respected mixtape, club, and show DJ, Neil has toured and performed with numerous big artists including Jay-Z. Check out a day in the life.

10. Hopie10

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: San Francisco
CHOPS says: Creative and quirky flow with a mix of cool, fire, and book-smarts (she has a law degree!). Listen here.

11. Joanlee11

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Long Beach
CHOPS says: Joanlee’s been mostly under the radar, building with some heavyweights and strengthening his craft, which is gonna pay off nicely. Listen here.

12. Lil Crazed12

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Minnesota
CHOPS says: He’s the type of artist girls get a tattoo of (literally, it’s happened). But don’t let that fool you, Crazed raps his ass off too. Listen here.

13. Matt Cab13

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Tokyo
CHOPS says: Now based in Tokyo, Matt cruises the same highway as Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, and the like, but has his own lane. Listen here.

14. Nikko Dator14

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Las Vegas
CHOPS says: Youthful energy, swag rapper vibe but with actual strong rhyme ability, like a Drake or Wayne.
Listen here.

15. Paul Kim15

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Modern singer with roots going back to the likes of Donnie Hathaway, I picture him like a John Legend or Miguel, blending different sounds but with a solid soul foundation. Listen here.

16. Rekstizzy16

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: NYC
CHOPS says: The wild card, he’s kind of like our very own ODB mixed with a touch of Kanye. Rek is super funny, crazy, unique, and plays around with a lot of styles musically. Listen here.

17. Tasha AKA Yoon Mi Rae17

Who: Singer/Rapper
Reppin’: Korea
CHOPS says: She stays attacking the charts in Korea, rapping and singing on anything from dance joints to straight hip-hop, from club bangers to ballads. Listen here.

18. Thai18

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Portland
CHOPS says: Veteran from the 454 Life Entertainment stable, Thai has a street sensibility, harder edged flow, and engaging delivery. Listen here.

19. Tiger JK19

Who: Singer/Rapper
Reppin’: Korea
CHOPS says: JK and Tasha are kind of like the Jay and Beyonce of Korea. Huge respect, longevity, and music that somehow keeps getting even better with each release. Listen here.

20. Timothy Flu20

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Atlanta
CHOPS says: One of the least known artists on the project right now, but his Southern drawl, easy cadence, belie wordplay and lyricism will change that. Listen here.

21. VERBAL of M-Flo and Teriyaki Boyz21

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Tokyo
CHOPS says: Verbal has a stellar career filled with super-creative output, highly respected and successful at the same time, which is so hard to achieve. You’ve heard the band before.

Check out this link:

21 Asian American Musicians You Need To Get Behind Right Now

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CHOPS (of the Mountain Brothers) presents: “Strength In NUMBERS”

Check out our friend and Team-Yellow supporter, music producer and former Mountain Brothers member CHOPS!

CHOPS began a secret project in 2011 to make music with over 30 Asian American artists. Studio APA was there to capture the production magic and share some behind the scene footage with you. Now he’s on a mission to fundraise this amazing campaign with the help of his community, Mountain Brothers supporters, and folks such as yourself! Check out the first installment of “Strength In NUMBERS“.

For more information about this project, go to CHOPS’ official Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/1brKULg