Lose yourself

Recognize this guy?

This was roughly 6-7 years ago.

I was battling this guy, Serius Jones.

Depending on who you ask, you’d get one of two answers as to who was the victor. Some say this was the battle that “ended my career”. A handful (keyword: handful) of individuals passionately cling on to the theory that I only faced defeat due to how “biased the crowd was” .

Of course, freestyle battling like any other art form is very subjective.

Yes, you can take into consideration things such as performance, delivery, creativity and even get as technical as counting who had more punchlines landed (or even more technical: rebuttals).

However, it sometimes simply boils down to gut feeling. Concise analysis aside, you know deep down in your heart which MC did their thing and which one got caught slippin’.

With that said, I lost to Serius Jones fair and square. Simple as that.

While I was rambling off random lines ineffectively, Serius breezed to victory utilizing his signature nonchalant approach. What he lacked in complexity, he surely made up for with wittiness. After all, “there’s a billion people in China and I couldn’t even go platinum there”.

Then there’s this guy.

Iron Solomon.

I battled him not too long after the above match. Unlike Serius, his demeanor wasn’t laid back at all. Pure ferociousness. Creative angles. All the elements that secured him a well deserved victory.

Reality check face.

At this point, you may be asking yourself  “Why is Jin blogging about himself getting annihilated in battles?” 

No, I’m not seeking sympathy nor is this a severe case of self loathing.

The reality is, in my 10 plus years of participating in the culture of freestyle battle rap, while all the accolades and recognition fed into an ever growing ego, it was the most agonizing and humiliating experiences of defeat that forced me to really search deep within myself for true signs of resiliency.

Me and freestyle battling have a fascinating relationship. The same platform that propelled me into the stratosphere and helped me launch a career, simultaneously managed to send me back into the depths of obscurity.

Presently, freestyle battle culture has evolved in many ways, with the most prominent factor being the online presence. From the various leagues to the dynamics of the battle itself, it is a whole new ball game. I must say, as far removed away from the scene as I may be, there is still an affinity that I have for the art form even if solely from a spectator point of view.

Which is why I saw the magnitude of what Dizaster vs. Canibus really represented for the culture as a whole. Thus, I did not hesitate to whip out the plastic and fork out the 30$ for the pay per view stream.

72 hours later, the global Hiphop community is still collectively scratching it’s head, some in disbelief as to exactly how it all went down, myself included.

There’s nothing that I can say that hasn’t been said already so I won’t delve too much into the battle itself.

Although I am not too familiar with his work of recent years, Canibus’ influence on myself as an MC is undeniable. If you were a young, aspiring, hungry battle cat in the late 90′s, Canibus represented the level of lyrical excellence one achieved to reach.

The man has quotable lines for days, but without a doubt one of my all time favorites is: “Every word I utter for Hiphop lovers, will reflect forever like two mirrors facing each other” 

Also, his verse from Beast From The East > most artists entire catalogue.

As for Dizaster, his performance was high caliber and no less than what’s expected of him at this point. Before his match with Canibus, Dizaster was undeniably at the forefront of freestyle battle rapping already. Now he is the living embodiment of it.

About 2 years ago, I was scheduled to battle Dizaster. He called me out. I accepted. In the end, it didn’t happen due to behind the scenes issues.

I read a tweet following the Canibus vs Dizaster debacle along the lines of “Somewhere Jin is thanking God that he didn’t battle Dizaster.”

To a certain extent, I agree.

Not so much for fear of humiliation or suffering a reputation damaging loss. More so, thankful that by God’s divine orchestration I didn’t find myself partaking in a battle that my heart and soul was not poured into.

If unaware, our egos can easily lead us into taking actions that may not reflect our true instincts.

That right there is one of the main reasons I ultimately withdrew from what was supposed to be a match with Dizaster. Furthermore, that is also the main reason I don’t foresee myself stepping back into the ring at any point. My heart is just not driven in such a way anymore, so to do so would be unfair to myself, my opponent and ultimately the fans of the sport.

I wake up everyday and mainly pray for more surrender and obedience.

Needless for me to say, the nature of battle rapping and what’s acceptable content wise is not exactly aligned with the Spirit that lives within a person when that person truly receives the Lord into their life.

That is not to say that all battle rappers are evil individuals. That’s not for me to say at least. John 8:7

Even with my new single Brand New Me, it’s quite evident my mindset is in a different space. I’ve read some of the comments online.. “This isn’t the hungry battle MC Jin from back in the days.”  Exactly.

*For those of you who have not seen any of the videos mentioned above, I just want to forewarn there is explicit language and vulgar themes. 

The loss to Serius Jones may or may not have ended my career but it definitely acted as a catalyst for an awakening that would soon follow.

For the longest time, I was defined by the approval and praise that I acquired from building a reputation within the battling community. The moment all of that got stripped away, I was left with nothing but questioning of my own self worth and validity.

I realize as I make the pivotal decision to step away from this element, it is only natural for the world to say ,”The only thing Jin ever had was freestyle battling. Without that he’s nothing.”  

By God’s grace the brand new me can accept that with absolute peace.

43 comments
  1. Tiffany says: June 12, 201211:34 pm

    Wow, I was really impressed by this blog. I defiantly needed to read this. This blog help put some questions to bed that I was asking in my head. Now…they can rest. :) Jin, you really make me want to become a better person. A better believe. A better “child” of God. Keep doing whatever you are doing. It’s a “Brand New You” and I can tell. Do you give advice? Because I had something I wanted to ask you (regarding relationships).

  2. Henry Chu says: June 13, 201212:06 am

    Good stuff Brother! Amen and God Speed!!

  3. Ives says: June 13, 201212:10 am

    Jin, I always enjoy reading your blog. Your writing is just as entertaining and sophisticated as your songs. Have you considered writing a book one day? I would totally read it! God bless you and thanks for the blog!

  4. Vincent says: June 13, 201212:11 am

    What happened that caused you to be a man of God? And without freestyling, you are still something. I mean, you opened the door for so many for Asian Americans. Sounds cheesy and weird but you’re my idol haha…(Not to sound weird and shit lol)

  5. Jason says: June 13, 201212:11 am

    This is a great blog. Thank you for taking your time out and expressing this. I’m not religious but this is motivating. What a man to be able to step aside from the loss and be able to look at the positive side of everything!

  6. Victor Yates aka iGUFA says: June 13, 201212:16 am

    yo not gonna lie, I thought something different about your battle with Jones but it takes a person of TRUTH to admit when they are defeated. Great blog and wonderful transparency! thanks for that…and I always wanted to battle rap but glory to God I never really had the opportunity because where I grew up it wasnt going down like that. Keep letting HIS LIGHT shine through you Bro Bro!

  7. Edward says: June 13, 201212:19 am

    A lot of seriously long words that I do not come across daily :O
    Well anyway it’s still nonetheless a great way to explain your exit of the freestyle battling community :)

  8. Article from Jin - RapMusic.com says: June 13, 201212:21 am

    [...] Article from Jin Found this via Dizaster's Twitter, he gave Jin props for his writing skills. Seems like an interesting read: Lose yourself | MCJIN.COM [...]

  9. g says: June 13, 201212:40 am

    Yo Jin! Been a huge fan of you since back in the BET days… and I love this post. What a powerful reflection on not only your career, but what’s important in life!

    Only when we have nothing and we have lost everything do we realize that our faith in God is everything and that nothing we can achieve in life is greater than love and grace we’ve already been given.

    Hope fatherhood is treating you well! Blessings to you and your fam.

  10. DaiLoJoe says: June 13, 201212:51 am

    Jin, nice blog, helped really put me back in a believer’s perspective that god’ s will comes before everything else and there come times of temptation but ultimately with god that’s nothing to worry about. Love the beat from “Angels” btw best song yett

  11. Sherrell says: June 13, 201212:52 am

    Thank you for your thoughts on that battle. I figured with that battle with Dizaster your heart wouldn’t be fully into it, so it wouldn’t be right for you to do. I watched the videos on You Tube and noticed how your mindset was on more positive things. Lovers of the art and of Dizaster didn’t understand that and brought up the old battles where you lost or went on to say how you where scared to battle him. I respect that you’ve always been true to yourself keep doing you and serving God. You stepped back and figured out what you wanted to do and you’re doing it and I hope Canibus will do the same.

  12. REUPSPOT says: June 13, 201212:57 am

    Great read by an even greater individual.

    Love your new music, keep making it!

  13. Tyler Wright says: June 13, 201212:59 am

    Just gonna say Jin, they wrote for you. We all know in freestyle it would have been closer and who knows who would have won. But as it is, they both beat you by writing. Btw, the game has evolved into writing rather than free styling now

  14. Khoazy says: June 13, 20121:04 am

    Great read sir. #BRANDNEWME

  15. Wayne says: June 13, 20121:05 am

    hey Jin i’m a Christian too, I am a man of god I love him! And I have admired you since a young age. I want to share with you this little insight, it’s really not an advice or anything, it’s just something that I’ve learned about myself in the last few years. I was born and raised in HK and I am studying in Cali now, this is my last quarter. As a matter of fact I am studying for my last exam in the library right now. I read your blog now and then but this is the first time I am responding to one of your posts. I hope you enjoy reading this!

    I don’t think you should take this either or approach. God loves you regardless, but if God has shown you this light and you feel happier this way then i’m happy for you too. but God bless the good and the wicked. the fall of man came from the fruit of the tree of wisdom. sin is essentially our false perception that we can tell what’s right and what’s wrong. i know this is edgy, but there is really no inherent right or wrong in any action; rather it is whether you are doing it for God or not that determines whether you are right in his eyes. battling isn’t an ego boosting thing, or should I say, it is not ONLY an ego boosting thing. everything you do, do it for God and you will have his blessings.

    i read this thing called the “slave morality” by Nietzsche. it basically talks about how Christianity is flawed in a way because it promotes suffering. It’s like a passive person saying, “i’m good because i am humble” but God doesn’t want that kind of humility. God will decide if a person is humble, you don’t decide for yourself! I don’t think Jesus really preached about the virtue of suffering, i really don’t. I think what the Bible says is that suffering is necessary but God is not a dick, all he wants is happiness for us. It is just that his vision of joy is more wholesome. He is not a God that forbids joy or take joy.

    I have this complexity within myself as well. I study fine arts and I’m a painter. Sometimes I get good reviews from my peers and the faculty and sometimes not. And slowly I find myself being afraid of success more than failure, because I have this fear that God will eventually take it away from me. But God doesn’t work that way, I know he loves me too much to do that. Like when I was younger I always imagined that one day if I understand God enough he will give me cancer or some shit like that. But no, I will get cancer or lived till a 100, and if I truly believe in God from the DEPTH of my soul than I wouldn’t let these external things become an indication of whether God loves me or not. Once I realized that I have this great empowering epiphany that I can do ANYTHING, ANYTHING JIN!

    I love your old stuff and your new stuff. I don’t want to be a music critic here I hate critics. But Jin, you need that fire, that fire not burning from the coals of our egos, but that fire from above, that fire that burns even more ferociously.

    I got great encouragement from this verse and I want to share it with you.
    Ecclesiastes 11:9

    I should get back to my studies. one love man, hope to see you around in HK.

  16. Wesley says: June 13, 20121:15 am

    Not religious myself, but I do miss your battles. It was always entertaining to hear what new come backs you have for every single stereotypical & cliche Asian joke thrown at you. I wish you would go back to making summer jams such as my favorite “Senorita” They were feel good songs that didn’t need material boasting lyrics, or ‘meaningful’ life/religion topics. Just a nice song to cruise to with the top down. I put that song in the same boat as Baby Bash’s “Shorty Doo Wop”

  17. Raeha Butler says: June 13, 20121:43 am

    “I realize as I make the pivotal decision to step away from this element, it is only natural for the world to say ,’The only thing Jin ever had was freestyle battling. Without that he’s nothing.’

    By God’s grace the brand new me can accept that with absolute peace.”

    You have so much more than freestyle battling! I pray that more people come to realize that. I was not around back in your battle days. I’ve never been in that kind of environment. God’s taken me down a very different road. But hearing your stories and what others say you were like, and then seeing you now, you truly are brand new. Praise God! :) I see the Light shining through you. I pray that God continues to use you as a beacon to those still in darkness. That by your example, others will follow and see there’s more Life to live. Thanks bro for sharing. Bless you.

  18. cynthia says: June 13, 20122:09 am

    good one! love your blog. love god! love you!

  19. Josh says: June 13, 20122:35 am

    I had just watched the Serius Jones battle a few days ago before reading this blog post. I almost cried because it was the first time I had seen you lose a rap battle (I actually saw the Iron Solomon battle, but assumed you won that one, haha).
    All I can say that it’s just an honor to read your post-battle thoughts, especially because I was thinking of how much you’ve changed as an artist now, and how you would reflect on this somewhat victorious defeat in life. Keep up the good work, Jin! Looking forward to the Brand New Me music video.

  20. Nicolas Liew says: June 13, 20122:54 am

    keep positive. #YOGO #BrandNewMe

  21. Lonersquare says: June 13, 20123:18 am

    That’s a very bold and vulnerable post, man. ‘Nuff said. Peace.

  22. mark says: June 13, 20126:43 am

    stay strong jin. we love ya

  23. Praverb Dot Net says: June 13, 20128:22 am

    Excellent blog post. I think people forget about the spirit aspect of battling. The concept of tearing one’s opponent down does not align with the word yet it is entertaining. We are bred to value competition. The innate ability to choose sides fuels battling and more importantly competition.

    I, at one time, dabbled with battling and my epiphany moment occurred when I participated in the Scribble Jam prelims. I learned that my “skills” were not fruitful to the kingdom. I tried to formulate disses in my mind yet on stage my mind went blank. I believe God saved me from succumbing to the power of the tongue.

    Jin, your career blossomed after the Serius Jones battle because you found purpose. The admiration and praise was replaced by a renewed mind. I pray that we all can conquer past demons and rely on the promises of God.

    Thank You.

  24. Truth says: June 13, 20129:04 am

    you lost because you tried to free style against writtens. there is nothing miraculous or puzzling about it. certainly nothing to justify the blogs and vids you keep making about your battle rap career. if its done, then let it die already.

  25. [...] and life after battle rap. Below is a snippet of what he had to say, the rest can be found by clicking here. The reality is, in my 10 plus years of participating in the culture of freestyle battle rap, while [...]

  26. Truth says: June 13, 20128:56 pm

    This is indeed a valid email account. I’ll post this on your blog as well in case I cannot reply to “no fan zone” email.

    Your reply hasn’t told me much about how you feel about what I said. All I’m saying is that out of the battle rappers you mentioned, Dizaster is the only one who can actually freestyle. You can tell immediately when he stops his writtens and freestyles. His freestyles are actually not that good (most of the time it is about nothing) and wouldn’t be able to beat you in a freestyle battle. You should know this already. DNA already showed his freestyles are better than Dizasters as well.

    Also nobody has ever seen you in a written battle, so it is undetermined if you could have beaten Serius Jones and Iron Solomon in writtens. We will never know. I honestly don’t understand why those ‘losses’ had to have such an impact on you.

  27. Hope says: June 14, 201212:36 pm

    I agree with Ives. If you ever write a book, I’ll definitely buy that.

    Thanks for sharing, Jin. I really enjoy and am so encouraged by your blogs. Stay strong, and keep focusing on loving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    Galatians 1:10
    For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

  28. DJ Cool Waters says: June 16, 20127:42 am

    Whats up guys, I want to link with some fellow members of the “No Fan Zone” if you are on Twitter add me @djcoolwaters mention me in a tweet and I will follow you right back, looking forward to connecting with some Jin fans. God Bless

    PS Great story Jin, thanks for sharing, praying for you as always.

  29. Sean Hodges says: June 18, 20128:42 pm

    - I SEEN EVERY 106 & PARK BATTLE (LIVE)LEADING UP TO YOU SIGNING.
    – I BOUGHT YOUR FIRST ALBUM WHEN IT DROPPED
    – I HEARD AS YOU CALLED IT QUITS BECAUSE THEY TRIED TO CHANGE YOU
    – I WATCHED YOUR TESTIMONY AS YOU STREAMED IT VIA YOUTUBE FROM YOUR KITCHEN
    – I WAS LITE UP BE THE HOLY GHOST WHEN I FOUND OUT YOU WERE RAPPING YOUR FAITH
    – I WAS ENCOURAGED IN MY OWN HIP HOP MINISTRY
    – I SAW YOU MAKE A WISE DECISION WITH DIZ.
    ——— JIN…………..GODS USED YOU HELP ME! ……….THE HOLY GHOST ALL THE WAY SON!!!!
    THANX———

  30. 1999 says: June 18, 20129:50 pm

    @ Truth,

    Your post tells me a few things about you, the first, and most obvious, is that you are a hater. The second and the most telling, is that you have a STAN like issue with Jin. Based on your comments you continue to watch and read Jin’s postings, then you post a comment that I think is uncalled for. Lets assume he forgot his lines that day, its better to try and freestyle through it, rather than sit there and not say shit and look even worse. Free style in that situation is what a real MC would do. Jin was one of the best during his time, and I think if he sat down and wrote some shit he could still compete. I think Dizaster is #1 battlewise, maybe top 10 all time.
    Still his recorded music is not up to par with his battling. Jin on the other hand can ride a beat, and can do more than just Diss the shit out of people. Dizaster is funny, and fits that niche, but he needs to work on the rest of his game. Great insight Jin, I don’t agree with you not battling again, but if that’s where you heart is, then we let it be. About the battle, It was clear to me Canibus was there for a pay check, it would have been more entertaining to see 1997 Canibus in that position. would have been closer I think. I share your feelings about Canibus, I grew up on that era of Hip Hop, and it was sad to see him take the L like that.

  31. Andrew Pineda says: June 18, 201211:30 pm

    Jin!

    A few things:

    As an Asian-American MC (who had a buzz, then faded into obscurity), I definitely relate to your words on battle rapping. Not because I participated in battles so much – I was actually always more of a writer – but because I too know the feeling of experiencing a crazy passion and somehow feeling different about it after some time for some reason.

    Since then, I’ve turned to writing traditionally – essays, poetry etc. I still love the art though… Hip-hop will always be in my soul. I found that my way of giving back has been to write about the people of the movement. I want to perpetuate my friends, fellow MC’s that I’ve worked with, and acts that I believe in simply because I love writing and because those people deserve it.

    I’ve been rocking with you since the early 2000′s. In 2001 I was 11, starting to rap, and I saw you as a major source of inspiration. Seriously. Ever since your “Gimmick” and “I Don’t Know” days, I’ve followed you. The Properganda is incredible to me. With this in mind, I want to write a piece on you.

    There are so many questions I want to ask you; and your matured, insightful and god-driven attitude is so interesting to me because I think that you can help me understand this complex genre even more. Please write me back if you’re interested in doing an interview, and have faith that I can ask questions that matter.

  32. J.P says: June 20, 201212:29 am

    that was well thought out dude. It was honest.

    Dizaster is at the top right now, he earned his spot. I wasn’t feeling him with all the vlogs attacks on you but after that battle in NY against Swave sevah I gained a lot of respect for him. Canibus wasn’t gonna win. I hope he is okay and is guided in more positive direction, with 6 months to prepare with all the people and the circle of crew that he has around him, not one even noticed or commented on the notepad thing? are you kidding me? someone should’ve at least stepped in and told bis he can’t bring a notepad to a battle, he didn’t come prepared after all the hype and i think he basically disrespected the fans, the KOTD league, dizaster the whole battle scene and himself by pulling a slick move like that.

    You’ve grown a lot mang, and i don’t even know you but god Bless you I’m rooting fo ryou

  33. Lee Quah says: June 26, 20124:26 pm

    Stumbled across the “New” (and better) Jin randomly today.

    I’ve been a fan for a long time; I was present when you battled Saint in Club cirque in London almost 10 years ago and had followed your battling career and had always wondered what had happened to you. As a fan I’ve seen the progression of Don’t Flop here in the UK, KOTD and other battle leagues and you’re right, the rap game has really changed. But one thing has definitely not change; of these rappers, no matter how good they are now, and how much of a legend in the battle scene they are (as you once were), one day that will all come to pass; the only thing that will remain is God’s Word.

    I’m so pleased to have found the new you and even more pleased to hear that we worship the same God and have an eternity with Him to look forward to. I have only just started listening to your new material but I know it will inspire me.

    Praise God.

  34. L.C.M. says: August 23, 201211:35 pm

    Can u write some simple English ? U know, it’s too difficult for a Hong Kong person to read your blog. Thanks Jin ! I hope I can read a simple post in the near future!

  35. Brian Kwong says: August 24, 20122:48 am

    Thank you for completing the past, putting the “What happened to Jin?” question to rest. I hear nothing but growth and maturity in this post and we are proud of you of how far you have come.

    Thank you and welcome to the brand new jin!

  36. Noodles says: August 24, 20126:14 am

    Not to sound bias, but in my mind you won that. You had that raw energy style that could never be duplicated. But what’s done is done, in a way it’s like UFC, one can only be champion for so long before losing, it’s the nature of the beast. A blessed humble transition in life is what some will never achieve, and for that it’s a more rewarding victory then winning any freestyle battle. God bless

  37. Michael says: August 25, 20124:04 pm

    Wow, some great comments from others that I read. I just wanted to say from this last part you said:
    I realize as I make the pivotal decision to step away from this element, it is only natural for the world to say ,”The only thing Jin ever had was freestyle battling. Without that he’s nothing.”

    By God’s grace the brand new me can accept that with absolute peace.

    I believe that it’s not over. Your doing so much more now, and God is using you in so many ways. Keep it up, that was just a platform and training for what God has for you now (the present) and the future! Keep the great music coming. #crazyloveridiculousfaith

  38. Test420 says: October 11, 20122:06 am

    jin…just wanted to give you huge props on your post. I followed bit of your battle career and seen how you lyrically annihalated battle emcees crazily. absolute beast man. fluid freestyle flow on you too. I’ve been writing,rhyming for 9 years (25 now) and faced a handful of defeats that have really damaged my self-esteem. (still shaken a little by it) seeing this post….it sparked some fire in me to keep going with my craft,remember what I’ve been doing it and appreciating it all for and at the same time to keep my mind and heart in the right direction and focus on just being a better person and a better artist as well…..I guess when you take falls the best thing to do is get back up and try again right? well…once again. thank you for the enlightening post. it made me look into myself a little bit and I hope people look into themselves a little bit too after that and congrats on the new addition to the family. hope all is well. blessings from afar…..one love.

  39. Banditt says: October 20, 20122:53 am

    God doesent exist though, so, ironically, you are more delusional than ever. Still, good luck with life.

  40. Ringo says: November 10, 201211:30 am

    I love you,Mc Jin.Maybe my English is not good,but i can feel that you love HK,love China.I really want to make friend with you.
    最后讲多句,Mc jin,你喺中国人嘅骄傲,都喺讲翻广东话好滴。

  41. beautifulbeast says: December 24, 201212:58 pm

    His face turns all red like…
    Still a classic lol!

  42. GrittyGRITZ says: December 28, 20124:55 pm

    YO jin so you moved back to america. i geuss the hongkong crowd isnt used to the rap mentality uk and us have. you kinda took my respect away for u. its seemed u wanted the easy way out to me. hongkong people are so easily gassed. now u cum back its like u think people forgot u ducked out from taking on dizaster an catching a Loss like a man. i respect u turnt christian and reh reh. but ill never look at u the same my brudda.

  43. 21 ST says: December 31, 20125:10 am

    Very strong words of wisdom and very inspirational. I myself have had many battles, much more victories then losses but the fact that my beliefs and individuality are solidified allows me to stand strong and move on. when alot of people give u ptaise, you have to try your best to not be affected too much because you then cant be shut down when alot of people diss you. Its all about knowledge of self and self worth. NO MAN SHOULD BE DEVALUED FOR HIS FAILURES SIMPLY BECAUSE HIS/HER CONTRIBUTIONS CAN BE ENDLESS AS LONG AS HE/ OR SHE IS BREATHING. WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO FAIL AND SUCCEED IN VAROIUS MOMENTS OF OUR LIFE. Thats just how I feel.

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