Asian American music producer Scott Chops Jung works with some of the best established and aspiring Asian American and International music artists.
Chops and two friends broke barriers as Mountain Brothers, the first Asian American rap artists signed to a major, with two albums and network video play.
Tell us what led to the reunion of Mountain Brothers and the Strength in NUMBERS project.
I started in a group called Mountain Brothers, one of the first Asian American rap groups to get global attention. I've been wanting to do an all Asian American project since even before those days, so we're talking late 90s. After MBs split ways musically, I kind of forgot about that particular dream and concentrated on production work, I built up some nice credits including Kanye West, Snoop, Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, The Lonely Island and Nicki Minaj. But the past few years I started noticing all these great new artists, and realized it was actually possible to do a dope Asian themed project now. I told the guys about it, and even though they're busy with career and personal lives, they agreed to help out and make new music.
Tell us about the Asian American artists and special guest artists from Japan and Korea that will be a part of this project.
Over 30 of my favorite Asian American rappers and singers are on Strength In NUMBERS. Some of the better known ones include Dumbfoundead, Lil Crazed, Paul Kim, Joanlee, Bambu, Prometheus Brown, Thai, Baiyu, and Hopie. Tiger JK and Tasha, who have been at it since the 90s and are still kicking ass on the charts in Korea today, were kind enough to do a joint. I met them through my good friend Ann One who's on the Mountain Brothers song. And Verbal from m-flo and Teriyaki Boyz did a song with his friend Matt Cab who's making waves in Japan right now. I did a song with m-flo back in 2001 and I'm lucky Verbal jumped on this project, he has a long respected career, tons of creative output.
Tell us about the Strength in NUMBERS album and upcoming video.
The album was put together over the course of more than 2 years, and I'm glad to say I'm happy with every song. It took a lot of effort to get the music done. We worked in person in my home studio, in other studios, bedrooms, and also worked via email, phone, Skype, any means necessary. Now it's time to let folks know about the great work everybody put in. We have a few videos in the works. We did one for "Keep On" the Mountain Brothers song, directed by pioneering filmmaker and close friend Chris Chan Lee, and we're working on a documentary about the project. But as for the upcoming video, shooting just wrapped for "No Turning Back" by Dumbfoundead and Paul Kim, directed by JL Jupiter and Timothy Tau, both amazing. JL shot half of the video in NY, and Tim shot half in LA. I can't wait for people to see and hear that one! I hope to do more work with Tim and JL too, for this project and in the future.
Where can fans go to help support the Strength in NUMBERS project?
The best place to start is http://chopsmusic.com/numbers , all the info and links are there. We're running a Kickstarter crowdfunding project with only 2 weeks left, so please check it out and support! Funding goes toward finishing up the audio, the videos, and getting cool merch made, there's some awesome artwork by Hoya Chung that we'll have on posters, shirts, and stuff. For now the link redirects to the project itself, and after the Kickstarter period is over, there will be a link to general info.
When will the album be out?
You can get a taste of each song right now, and see each artist, on a special link on the Kickstarter page. Kickstarter backers will get the music by mid November, which is only a month away. Sometime later, probably by year end, it'll be available on iTunes, Amazon, and other places.
Special Thanks to Scott Chops and Timothy Tau for arranging this interview.