Debuting in 2001, Cantonese-English bilingual rapper Jin Au-Yeung, better known as MC Jin, has been a longstanding figure in the Asian American hip-hop community. His professional and personal journey has taken him from his birthplace of Miami to Hong Kong, where he became a household name, to New York, where he currently resides with his wife and young son. Some have viewed Jin and his language use through the deficit lens of his incomplete Cantonese language acquisition. We argue, however, that his socalled "kitchen language," or the perceived reduction of his linguistic productive domain to merely household objects and phrases, as well as his "return home" to Hong Kong, are actually poignant heuristics to literally and interactionally perform transnational Chinese American identity and masculinity across time and space. Through examining the songs from Jin's 2007 album, ABC, we discuss the various tropes Jin utilizes to stake claims on and narrate authenticity relating to the Hong Kong Cantonese (American) experience. Viewing Jin's lyrics and his collaborations with Asian American celebrities and hip-hop artists as auto/biographical texts, we discursively analyze his autonomy of self-expression and narration of identity through hip-hop. We also discuss the ways these narratives map onto larger discourses of Asian American identities. Ultimately, we argue that Jin is a pioneering mediator who reconfigures modern geographies of Asia/Asian America by (re)writing what it means to be a contemporary heritage speaker of Cantonese, providing new and powerful resonances to bilingual prose and expression.


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pp. 550-567
Launched on MUSE
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