[Update] J. Reyez's new track, "Maybe One Day", has this author seeing red
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allkpop's been getting tips about the new music video release from Korean-Canadian hip hop artist J. Reyez, titled "Maybe One Day." Guest-featuring Jay Park, everyone's been raving about how delicious the new track is, how (like his video) it's hot like fire. Unfortunately, I have to disagree. In a very big way. I listened to the first couple of bars, was intrigued by the build-up, and then promptly rage-quit the track 35 seconds in. The reason being was that I was so offended by a particular line that I could not fathom how the track could get any better. J. Reyez boasts, "My name is J-Reyez, yup, the Korean guy // I represent the Asians, we all chinky-eyed." Seriously? We all hate it when people of other cultures refer to us as 'chinky-eyed', or when they assume that we're all Chinese and so greet us with "Ni hao", or some ridiculous singsong nonsense. So why would we ever introduce those words, that slur, into our music? Why would we give others the impression that it's okay to refer to people of Asian descent as 'chinky-eyed' because an Asian hip hop artist made it seem like it was acceptable? It's straight-up ignorance. And honestly, even if the rest of the track was spectacular in its verbal eloquence, those lines were intellectually cheap, degrading, and full of self-loathing. I don't care to be represented by anyone who sees degradation as a source of personal hype. I know that we're in an era now that seeks to reclaim certain words, but some words, some descriptions, should just stay buried. I'm not hating on J. Reyez, I'm just disappointed with his decision to include those lyrics into his work. With that said, I know every artist has the one bad track, and I'm sincerely hoping that whatever J. Reyez releases in the future will be something that will truly allow his talents to shine. Maybe one day, but not today. -- Check out the video below. -- [ Update ] Contrary to some arguments, I did listen to the track in its entirety not just once, but multiple times. To make sure that I understood what was going on with the lyrics, I even read them on J. Reyez's official YouTube page for "Maybe One Day." My comments in regards to the '35-second rage-quit' were only addressing my initial reaction. I think the majority of the responses communicate an issue that is truly disturbing to me. It's a lack of understanding social consciousness and Asian American history that lies at the true core of this article. The adjective 'Chinky-eyed' derives from 'Chink', which was a slur used against immigrants of Asian descent, no matter what their actual heritage was. It's a word that has its roots in negativity, ignorance, and prejudice. And no amount of reclamation will spin this in any positive light. Not from J. Reyez, not from a more mainstream artist, NO ONE. I know everyone's calling me out as a writer to take responsibility for my words, to consider what I'm posting to this wide audience of ours. Rappers, whose careers rise and fall based on their lyrics - on their words - should understand that same responsibility. I understand that Jay Park himself had addressed this issue, saying that perhaps we were taking it too seriously and that we didn't understand the words, or the rap game. It's really a lot more simpler than that. It's passive acceptance of something that should never be accepted. It's desensitizing the issue, ignoring the history behind the word, and allowing ourselves to be lulled into feeling like something is not 'ok' but we end up being fearful of looking 'confrontational' or 'too sensitive'. Like I said before, "I know that we're in an era now that seeks to reclaim certain words, but some words, some descriptions, should just stay buried." And again, I'm not hating on J. Reyez. Since we're standing in the hip hop arena, I'd like to toss out a quote from one of its greatest leaders, Common. "If I don't like it, I don't like it // That don't mean I'm hatin'" - "The Sixth Sense" == Note: This article does not reflect the opinions of allkpop, only of the author.
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