Also known simply by his English name Joe, CHANG JUI-CHUAN draws on the civil rights movement, various religious teachings, his experience as a student in the USA and, without a doubt, his quest for identity as a Taiwanese native threatened by China's military advances on one side and America's cultural imperialism on the other. Backed by DJ POINT, Joe channels revolutionary icons such as Malcolm X and Bob Marley to make to make confrontational raps about Taiwanese history, globalization and cultural equity. While falling into the conscious hip hop category of KRS ONE and DELTRON 3030, the music is made distinctly Taiwanese with the use of traditional instrumentation and local media samples made possible through POINT's "crossover" turntablism. Joe is currently an English professor in Taiwan and much of his style emulates a teacher bestowing wisdom on the listener.
CHANG-JIU CHUAN - Vocals & Rhymes
DJ Point - Turntables
CHANG JUI-CHUAN & POINT
2 CD Set - TW034
Emerging from Taiwan, a nation shrouded in political ambiguity, CHANG JUI-CHUAN is an uncompromising artist who delves into the issues of the cultural identity of his country. Using his own experience living in the US, exploring various religious beliefs and taking influence from the civil rights movement, he writes penetrating raps about Taiwan's place in a globalized society as well as his own quest for self as a Taiwanese under pressure from Chinese authoritarianism and American imperialism. He takes the English name JOE, yet acknowledges it as a sign of a "colonized mind." He touts the uniqueness of Taiwan tea and calls for his people to recognize this often overlooked local treasure. Unlike typical Asian hip hop which tends to mimic American mainstream artists, POINT backs up JOE's affirmations with modern beats blended with samples of native Taiwan sounds giving Genesis a distinct vibe propelled by a sense of urgency.
The intro to Genesis opens with a showdown guitar riff and the taunt "Would you please speak Mandarin?" which then leads into the first track "My Language," in which JOE sees his multi-lingualism as a forte amidst Chinese Nationalist suppression of local Taiwanese languages and society's push to learn English as a second language. DJ POINT demonstrates his "crossover" turntablism on "Voiceless" melding hip hop beats and bass with traditional string and woodwind instrumentation while JOE raps in Taiwanese about violence, hypocrisy and finding peace in a world growing complex. On the brooding and prophetic "God's Lost Children," JOE seeks to reach a younger generation that is forgetting their history because of conditioning by the Nationalist bent educational system as well as pressures to conform to a globalized society; the eerie Taiwanese opera singing makes the track all the more effective. Poignant and affecting with a solemn RnB chorus, "Hey Kid" recounts the February 28th, 1947 massacre committed by the KMT, beseeches Taiwan's youth to remember those who were killed or imprisoned while standing against authority and didactically mentors the anonymous Taiwan "kid" with words of wisdom. "Difang Duana" is dedicated to the Taiwanese aboriginal singer of the Amis tribe whose song "Jubilant Drinking Song" was sampled by Enigma for a 1994 Olympics theme song, and subsequently stolen by EMI; a lawsuit ensued and Difang eventually won a settlement which he used to set up for a scholarship fund young Amis members. Inspired by Bob Marley, "Hope Is Here" brightens the album with an optimistic reggae vibe. The heavy hitting "No Justice, No Peace" exposes Taiwan's situation between the proverbial rock and a hard place by juxtaposing images of brutal Chinese oppression and unjust American foreign policy. Layered with nu-metal intensity, "Ghost In The Machine" closes out Genesis with a fierce rap combining religious imagery and a call for revolution.
Resurrection is essentially a remix album featuring local artists such as ADIA, MOSHANG and RED-I & THE RIDDIM OUTLAWZ who help bring the original songs into more ambient or club settings. The liner notes include personal memoirs by JOE providing insight to his mission, influences and concern with identity as well as English translations to all the songs, making it a perfect companion piece to Genesis.