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BACKSTAGE WITH MARIAN
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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

My Articles

MY PICKS
CD: Common:"Be"
Music Video Eminem: featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Trailer: The Year of the Yao
TV: Harvey Birdman
Videogame: Fable

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Art: The New Art of India
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Movie: Cinderella Man
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Restaurant: The Melting Pot
Theater:The Mambo Kings

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Earth and Sun Kiss

MY PLAYLIST

1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

2. Weezer: "Hold Me"

3. Bright Eyes: "First Day Of My Life"

4. Ringside: "Miss You" and "Criminal"

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  • Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    On the phone with Jin

    Over the past few days, I've been listening to rapper JIN. His latest album "The Rest is History" is smokin'. It just came out yesterday.

    More on his album: The guests on JIN's album are impressive: mile-a-minute-rapper Twista, hot producer-emcee Kanye West and Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean join in on raps. The producers at Ruff Ryders did a good job transforming the battle rapper into an artist.

    JIN, who is a second-generation Chinese-American, also gives shout-outs to the Great Wall , Bruce Lee and Yao Ming. His name is written like a calligraphy seal and a dragon is emblazoned on his CD jacket. His earlier single was named "Learn Chinese" and has hooks in Cantonese.

    "If I'm not getting flak for being Asian, then it's for being a battle rapper," he complained in Vibe. "You're losing on both ends."

    It's must be a hard balance, representing for Chinese American and being a rapper without compromising either.

    Earlier in his career, I spoke to him on the phone. In a thick New York accent, he said, "Being Chinese is pretty evident, it shows itself, and I always embrace it, and it shows up in my lyrics."

    In his raps, JIN sounds a lot like Eminem, a fast tongue with a little attitude.

    Back when I interviewed him, I waiting for his call, but didn't know when he would call.

    I was at Old Navy, waiting for some friends, when JIN called. I scrambled for my cell phone, and used one of the sweater cubbies as a desk. Then halfway through the interview, the cell phone died.

    I ran into the street, looking for a public telephone. Fortunately I ran into my friend, grabbed his phone without explaining, and called back to finish my interview.


    In addition to opening for Mos Def Thursday night, you can catch JIN earlier on Thursday and also on Friday. Ch-check it out:

    WHAT: JIN signing
    WHERE: Tower Records Stonestown, 3205 20th Ave., S.F.
    WHEN: 4 p.m. Thursday, 10/21
    TICKETS: Free; (415) 681-2001

    Also...

    WHAT: JIN's record-release party
    WHERE: 330 Ritch St., San Francisco
    WHEN: 10p.m. Friday 10/22
    TICKETS: $10-15; (415) 541-9574








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    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at mliu@mercurynews.com.