Video: Jin freestyles with Wyclef Jean at SXSW
Grammy Award-winning artist Wyclef Jean’s open interview at SXSW 2015 concluded with a back-and-forth freestyle with MC Jin.
In 2003, Jean produced, co-wrote and featured on Jin’s lead single “Learn Chinese” off his Ruff Ryders debut album, The Rest Is History. Even before then, while still in high school, Jin had called into a Miami radio station when Jean and Canibus were promoting a local concert and rapped to them on the phone. When Jin saw that Jean was being interviewed at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening in Austin, Texas, Jin was thrilled to attend.
After the interview, which was conducted by journalist Nick Huff-Barili, they gave members of the audience an opportunity to ask Jean questions. Jin approached the mic.
“I didn’t have so much as a question,” Jin said, “but I definitely wanted to acknowledge him and thank him because it just dawned on me in that moment a very real thing, which was, I don’t think I really ever got to fully tell him, ‘Man, thank you for contributing to my journey.’
“No matter how you slice and dice it, Clef is a big part of my career. One thing that really allowed me to see that was, as he was sharing, I started reflecting on this past decade as I’ve been doing interviews left and right, and even with the twist and turns of my career, a reoccurring topic or theme or person undoubtedly would be him, naturally, because he produced my first single — my biggest single to date.”
Jin, who grew up listening to Jean and his former group, the Fugees, appreciated his music long before they collaborated.
“I don’t think there’d be another figure I’d pick, if I had to pick one, to be a part of my legacy in that way,” Jin told Jean in front of the SXSW crowd.
Jean, humbled, reciprocated the praise, speaking on Jin’s accomplishments as a pioneer in hip hop. He then invited Jin on stage to rap to end the session, which got the room buzzing. After several more questions, this is what happened.
“That was an Instagram moment if there ever was one,” Jin said, “or a Snapchat moment, Meerkat, or whatever the thing is that they’re doing now.”