Category: mixtape

Model Minority: Three Chinese Americans shuttle between racially colored humor and politics

Cover Last fall, when Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa released his Steelers-inspired “Black and Yellow," he sparked a musical meme followed by everyone from Lil Wayne (“Green and Yellow,” for the Packers) to Snoop and the Game (the Lakers’ shout-out, “Purp &  Yellow”). The least expected remake may have come from Model Minority, a trio made up of two Seattle brothers and a third rapper in Beijing, by way of New Haven, Conn. Featured on their recent “Model Minority Report” mixtape, their “Chinese Remix” flips “Black and Yellow” into its Mandarin equivalent -- heisè huángsè. Try saying that four times in a row, quickly.

Made up of three Chinese American artists -- Jason “Grandmaster” Chu, Andrew “Inglish” and David “D-One” Fung -- Model Minority shuttles between racially colored humor and politics. The Fung brothers caught the ear of The Times’ Daily Dish blog last fall with their “Welcome to the SGV,” an ode to Asian eateries in the San Gabriel Valley (sample lyric: “No, I’m not lying/No, I’m not frontin’/Forget Din Tai Fong/J&J for the dumplings”). “The Model Minority Report” is no less playful, with Inglish recording the jerk-inspired “Dim Sum Truck” (“Inglish, can you teach me how to dim sum?”), while the group’s “Whitewashed” mixes jokes and jabs about clueless suburbanites (“When I rap/They sayin’ I want to be black/And how I act/They sayin’ I needed to change that.”)

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M.I.A. releases new Wikileaks-inspired mixtape, ViCKi LEEKX

ViCKi LEEKX_1293810179710
On Thursday night, rapper/singer/provocateur M.I.A. released a new Wikileaks-inspired mixtape called ViCKi LEEKX, a 36-minute rhythm frenzy featuring new production work by Diplo, Switch and Blaqstarr and a host of rhymes and rants by the artist born Maya Arulpragasam. It opens with a female-voiced salvo inspired by Julian Assange's recent freedom of information campaign: "We chose the right format," says the voice, "We leak the information to the public, and we defend ourselves against inevitable legal and political attacks. Vicki Leekz: leak me."

The end-of-the-year offering is no doubt an attempt on M.I.A.'s part to have the last word after a particularly rocky professional year. Her 2010 release, "Maya," failed to generate the buzz that her previous album, "Kala," did, and the album's been notably absent on most critics' year-end lists. Arulpragasam was also the subject of an infamous Lynn Hirschberg profile in the New York Times Magazine that asked hard questions about the singer's politics and private life.

Can ViCKI LEEKX silence her haters? You can download it in all its chopped-up, AutoTuned glory here.

-- Randall Roberts

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