Grand Master Chu, Yung Monk, And The Mixtape

Monday, May 02, 2011

Got dropped an e-mail from Grand Master Chu and wanted to post up a little bit about his new mixtape.

A well-thumbed holy text in one hand and fresh Jordans tucked under selvage denim, cap slightly askew. He wanders the world by plane, subway, and foot, a 22nd-century global nomad.

Grand Master Chu’s lyrical journey through high school, an undergraduate career at Yale University, and the Beijing underground rap scene has culminated in Yung Monk: the Mixtape. Through its 19 tracks, he demonstrates his years of lyrical growth and personal and spiritual contemplation, laying crisp verses packed with meaning and choruses with smooth, memorable hooks, both sung and rapped.

For hip-hop fans, a strong dose of lyricism is present on songs like “I Need a Savior” (“I need some medicine, penicillin for penances / Pennin the pages, diagnosis: I lack adrenaline”) and “6’7” (Master Version)”, a hijacking of Lil Wayne’s recent single. On “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Sons,” he joins his Model Minority partners in a thoughtful ode to their parents, while he holds his own on “Chinatown Connect”, even paired with Brooklyn street rapper SK.

Still, even the most pop-oriented listeners can enjoy songs like “Café” - a K-pop Big Bang cover featuring Asian-American singer Melloe (with a soon-to-be-released music video)- and “冰红茶 (Iced Red Tea)”, a tongue-in-cheek club song dedicated to the ubiquitous Chinese soft drink (“waiters try to bring me bottle service / if it ain’t cold and red, it got me feeling nervous”).

Between freshness and materialism, joy and greed, exuberance and reflection: the Yung Monk.

Yung Monk: the Mixtape was recorded in Beijing, China; Yale University, Connecticut; and Newark, Delaware. It is now streaming and available for FREE download at (

Two videos for mixtape tracks “Bustout”/“60” and “Bring Me Down” are online at and
You can read more about Grand Master Chu and The Model Minority down at the LA Times Blog from a little bit ago.