what I'm listening to: brother min's journey to the west

Denizen Kane, aka Dennis Kim, holds an extremely important place in my heart. As a founding member of the revolutionary spoken word group I Was Born With Two Tongues, his work was highly influential in the development of my own consciousness as an Asian American activist and artist. I'm guessing a lot of people might feel the same way.

While Two Tongues has since disbanded, Denizen Kane has moved on in hip hop as an accomplished underground emcee. Over the years, I've seen his stuff here and there, and followed along with various records, as well as his work with Typical Cats. And now, I'm pleased to get my hands on Kane's latest release, his third solo album Brother Min's Journey to the West:
Brother Min's Journey to the West, Kane's third solo joint, is told entirely in the voice of Min, the youngest of the four Kane brothers - characters Denizen has developed on record and in print (reportedly a collection of short stories is in the works). The Kanes represent those slain in the struggle, and Min represents the most tragic of the young, gifted, and dead - the suicide. Tree City has ceased to be clown-head slang for Chicago, or a bizarre amalgam of Chi City, Oakland, Seattle, and New York - as it was for the first two Tree City LPs. Here, it is the city within the City, the remnant of decimated tribes, the last survivors, carrying imaginary homelands in their heads. Brother Min is a gripping collection of immigration narratives, rebel chants, and classic odes to crew, crossing the river, and the wild-ass kids on your block.
I've been listening to the album for the last few days, and somewhere along the way, Denizen Kane has mounted a full-scale assault on my brain. He's a true wordsmith -- punchy, playful, provocative -- with songs of struggle and celebration. And I couldn't help but notice that he's sprinkled little sound bits from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story throughout the album. I definitely got a kick out of that.

Can I get a hell yes? For more information about Denizen Kane and Brother Min's Journey To The West, go to the Galapagos4 website here. The album, released last week, is currently available on iTunesicon.

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