Ever since Wu-Tang Clan dropped Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) back in '93, Asian culture has been embedded in hip hop's DNA.
Yet, 20 years later, Asian-American rappers are still fighting for mainstream recognition. Though Jin, who rapped his way to considerable success after winning seven battles in a row on 106 & Park's Freestyle Fridays, and other MCs like Fort Minor and producers like Dan the Automator have done some incredible things, there still hasn't been a breakthrough Asian rap superstar in the limelight.
With a chameleon-like ability to change up his style and a knack for tight-roping the line between real talk and straight comedy (á la Redman, Eminem), New York MC Rekstizzy is looking to change all that, and if he has to impregnate a tabloid starlet to do so, well then he's down for that too.
On his latest video for the Lil Fame-assisted single "Come At Me Bro" from his new album, Whatever You Say, the versatile rhymer proves that he's dead serious about his rhymes, but still insists on having fun.
"The concept was like an underground senior citizens' fighting league, and we had fun with it," Rekstizzy told BET.com. He also talked about why it was important to have the M.O.P. crunk rapper in the video. "When you get an artist that's coming up and they don't got the featured artist in the video that s*** is kind of a letdown, so we definitely wanted to have him in the video. I f****n' love M.O.P. That's my s**t right there."
Stizzy knows that in hip hop it's hard to please everybody. And for Asian-American rappers it's even harder to fight people's preconceived ideas of what you represent. But the "God Bless America" wordsmith contends he's got something for everybody.
"I put so many different styles on my album so, you hear some West Coast s**t, you hear some East Coast, even some Philly flows," the Korean-American rapper noted, adding, "Asian-Americans have had the illest identity crisis forever. Our parents don't really put us on to pop culture and all of that, so we had to formulate our own identity. Whatever You Say has bits of what you would call white culture and Asian culture. It's all in there. I think a lot of people watch the video and they're not sure what to make of it because it's all these different words coming from an Asian face," he added.
Skills will always shine above all else, but Rekstizzy points out that the real fame makers in this country are the tabloids, and like he said in a recent interview with the Huffington Post, he might have to "impregnate a couple Miley Cyruses" to really get mainstream recognition.
"What I meant by [the Miley Cyrus comment] is that the only way we'll [Asian-Americans] be relevant in media is when we start getting really featured in tabloids," said Rekstizzy. "I think as I progress in my career I can think about that s**t less, but now I know I have to address things like that," he added.
Rekstizzy's got the makings of a rap superstar: wordplay, swag, style and fearlessness. And now that his favorite "twerkaholic" is single, the troublemaker MC is just a headline away from being the next American superstar.
(Photo: Rekstizzy/Essentic NYC)