HomeBad Ass AsiansRapper Duo's New Album “Face Value” Aims to Educate AsAm History as...

Rapper Duo’s New Album “Face Value” Aims to Educate AsAm History as well as Decry Asian Hate.

By Mimi Chen, AsAmNews Music Correspondent

Jason Chu and Alan Z, both popular rappers/personalities, teamed up to record a new album with songs that select key moments in Asian American History. 

AsAmNews recently sat down to chat with one half of the duo, Alan Z, a rapper who has not only distinguished himself in the music world with song placements in properties such a Wu Assasin, iZombie, Candy, Bubbly Brown Sugar and others, but also as an actor.

Z is often called “The Fresh Prince of Atlanta”  – he attributes the moniker to the fact that after always moving constantly when he was young, from places such as China, England, Singapore, Maryland and Seattle.

He finally settled in Atlanta where he found his home and his ‘voice,’ similar to the protagonist for the TV show Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

“I was bullied half my life and I had to leave Seattle because of that ’cause it got so bad in terms of feeling out of place, in being treated like an outcast and for a long time I didn’t have any fun memories of Seattle but now that I’m older, you know I don’t mind it but it still doesn’t give me that home feeling because of the childhood trauma I experienced.”

Not only did Z say he experienced much racism in Seattle but observed self-hate from other Asians.   “There were a lot of Asian kids who said a lot of racist things about themselves so that the White kids would like them and they’re all laughing.”  He added, “That type of self hate is normalized as well right now.”

While Z notes the current times for the AsAm community are sad, he thinks at least the Asian community has been “empowering ourselves.”  “ I can’t promise we’re gonna be OK completely but I do see a lot more Asian Americans standing up and even Asians globally thinking that this is really messed up.

“I think that’s something inspiring to see, how more and more people are basically saying enough is enough, so I would like to see more of that, you know, more of us pushing back and more of us  rocking the boat for the sake of protecting our elders, women and children.   It feels that the Asian American community is definitely coming together more because of these incidents.”

Z and Jason Chu have been friends for a long time and have collaborated before. The inception of the new album Face Value was a natural progression of their friendship. He notes it began with a conversation they had last summer.

“You know we’re looking at all the anti-Asian attacks and because of the pandemic, people found a reason to be racist towards us. We wanted to uncover something deeper than just the sentiment of the stop Asian hate crimes now because if you look into history, there is a long lineage of hate and oppression.”


Every song focuses on events in Asian American History that many people may not know about. 

Notes Z, “There is the Model Minority myth, we have a sound directed to that called Model Minority which dismantles the idea. 

We have a song about Yellow Peril which breaks down the existential threat that is viewed throughout the West and how people, you know, how people blame Asians for COVID. That’s an extension of Yellow Peril which is perceived as a “dirty Asians disease.” 

Z continued discussing other songs on the album, “We have a song that addresses Eurocentral beauty standards, in a song called Beautiful. And we have a song called Bruce which is obviously dedicated to Bruce Lee about the phenomenon in history about the martial arts.”  Added Z, “There’s way more but I don’t want to spoil  it for you.”

Chu and Z have an ambitious objective of expanding the reach of their creation beyond streaming platforms, “When we made Face Value, we wanted it to be a project where the research and the community outreach doesn’t stop at the album release.  We want to be able to take this to schools, workshops and expand on these ideas for this album so that it can have a life of its own beyond just streaming platforms.”

The link to stream the album:

https://orcd.co/jasonchu-alanz-facevalue


Alan Z socials:

Instagram: @AlanZmusic

TikTok: @AlanZmusic

YouTube: Alan Z

Spotify: Alan Z

Facebook: Alan Z

Jason Chu:
JasonChuMusic.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/jasonchumusic/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/jasonchumusic/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/jasonchumusic/

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/jasonchumusic

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4iYrlt4ga3CGYF7Z2mUDxV

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