Jin “Sincerely Yours” (album review)

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Indie (April 29, 2011)
Review by Aidan Severs

Born in Miami to Chinese parents and later becoming a New York resident MC Jin got his break on 106 & Park’s Freestyle Fridays. For a while he was signed to Ruff Ryders, a label on which he had an album and a couple of singles. During this period he made his name in the mainstream for his character in 2 Fast 2 Furious. After ‘quitting’ and re-emerging as The Emcee, Jin returned to battling and switched styles somewhat dropping tracks like ‘Top 5 (Dead or Alive).

These days Jin is far from the “Speak Chinese” MC – he’s a Christian. The worldly bragging is replaced by a humble deference to One greater than he. Sincerely Yours is a 5 track statement of intent, and the music speaks of a very changed man. The EP is a cause for celebration – another lost soul found – and this is the release’s greatest strength. The content of the tracks here is very focused – each song signifies the change in the MC’s life. It’s deeply testimonial and hopefully challenging to his secular fans.

Jin has a nice flow and an accessible style – not too lyrical yet not too simplistic. His smoothness is mostly partnered with an ability to convey a message clearly. “I can attend church and study the scriptures but if I don’t know God something’s wrong with the picture, with no regrets I made a decision, this is not about religion it’s the way that I’m livin’.” – simple but effective.

The EP has a mainstream vibe, without adhering too closely to the most up-to-date pop sounds. None of the beats particularly stand out as being anything spectacular but each one dutifully plays its part in giving Jin the backdrop for his heartfelt messages. As an EP it’s one the listener may go back to for encouragement, but no single track would particularly draw them back.

The fact that a mainstream MC has been changed by the Grace of God is cause for the Hip Hop fan to rejoice – no one is beyond redemption. The true enjoyment in this piece of entertainment is knowing that a life has been touched and changed. Even if you only listen to this once, you should grab the free download and check out the new Jin.

Download: Jin Sincerely Yours EP